As a fan of Bangkok-based omni-channel fashion platform, Pomelo for a few years now, I always look forward to receiving my monthly Pomelo parcels that seem to arrive faster and faster each time. While its button-down shirts and pants are at the top of my list for their eye-catching prints and great fit, its graphic tees and accessories also strike my fancy, and I've never had to return any of my purchases thus far, which says a lot about the product offerings!

One of the things that keep drawing me back to the brand is the variety of special collections that feature cartoon characters we grew up with and collaborations with established designers from around the region, among others. A few weeks ago, I was browsing the Pomelo app when I came across the Janesuda x Pomelo collection ahead of its launch. The overall vibe, colours and designs instantly caught my eye (especially the charming floral prints, lace patchworks and customised cotton eyelets), and having been “stuck” in Malaysia since the first MCO was implemented back in March 2020, I can’t wait to head to the beach again as I can visualise myself wearing the pieces from this collection on my next island vacay!

Right after the launch, I got to have a chat with Janesuda Parnto, the founder and designer of her eponymous clothing line, and discovered more about the Thai actress-VJ-host-turned-fashion designer who’s been in the business for eight years. From merely wanting to make the perfect T-shirt that’s affordable, comfortable and fits the body to a T, Janesuda went on to design dresses and grow her client base from email orders. But it wasn’t until she started posting her photos on Instagram that the demand for her pieces really soared, so after two years, Janesuda decided to release a whole resort wear collection and the rest is history!

For the Janesuda x Pomelo collection, you can expect more than just 26 beautiful designs with a timeless touch. The pieces exude vivacity, carefree vibes and the kind of chic you can simply put on and feel great in, as a lot of effort have been put into making every body shape look flattering, no matter which clothing style you choose to flaunt. Janesuda and the Pomelo design team had thought of them from all aspects including wearability, inclusivity and sustainability, with seven pieces made using sustainable cotton fabric that’s sourced from Members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), the world’s largest cotton sustainability program. In a nutshell, what it means is that not only are the pieces eco-friendly and ethically sourced, the sustainable cotton used is also softer than your conventional cotton fabric and designed to be breathable, durable, low-maintenance, odour-free, skin-friendly and anti-microbial. Before you add everything to cart (if you haven’t already), find out more about the collection from Janesuda herself.

What sparked this collaboration between Janesuda and Pomelo?

“There was synergy between Janesuda and Pomelo in terms of brand identity and values, with both brands sharing a similar vision to inspire their community to follow their dreams and pursue their personal goals. Sustainability was also a huge factor for this collection, and it’s a value that’s at the core of both brands. For Janesuda, the brand previously celebrated and incorporated Northern Thai fabrics and craftsmanship into one of its key collections, while Pomelo launched its Sustainable Initiative, “Down to Earth” earlier this year, which is a multi-pronged initiative that aims to drive change within the industry via its products and processes.”

Photography: Pomelo

“The Janesuda brand has always been well-loved by the local Thai customers and Pomelo saw this as a great opportunity to introduce the brand to its regional audiences across Southeast Asia and bring to life uniquely-designed styles that are versatile, exclusive and of high quality, while capturing the essence of both brands. Considering all these factors, naturally, it was a great fit to have both brands come together to co-design and create a collection.”

How was the process like from ideation to the product launch, and how long did it take?

“The entire process took over a year, where both the Janesuda (brand) team and the Design and Buying Department at Pomelo were heavily involved every step of the way – from conceptualisation to design, sourcing and selection of fabrics, materials and embellishments, and right down to the production of the pieces. The team started from 100 designs and drawings before narrowing it down to 26 pieces in the full collection. Once the designs were completed, the Marketing and Creative Department at Pomelo took over, conceptualising the marketing strategy and executing the collection shoot and campaign assets. Besides being heavily involved in the production, I was also the face of the campaign shoot.”

Photography: Pomelo

What was the most challenging part of bringing this collection to life?

“The main teams in charge are based in Bangkok, and for most of the duration, the city was in lockdown in the middle of the pandemic. This meant that most of the meetings – from fittings to discussions and planning – all took place remotely and virtually via Zoom calls and video chats, wherever possible, to ensure of the safety of the teams as they worked from home. Of course, this posed a challenge for the teams to be creative and think outside of the box when collaborating in a project like this, having to communicate ideas to each other across the different teams and stakeholders.”

Photography: Pomelo

Why did you choose to stick to a minimal colour palette?

“This collection takes inspiration from my personal emotions towards everything that’s happening at the present moment in my life and community, and I wanted my fans and Pomelo’s to see this collection and be reminded of happiness and warmth. I kept to a neutral colour palette of white, nude and beige for most of the pieces as these are universal colours that’ll look good and complement all customers. Furthermore, as this collection showcased lace patchwork details and customised cotton eyelets in the fabric, layering the fabric with a neutral-toned inner layer allows the unique designs and intricate details on the clothing to stand out.”

Photography: Pomelo

Which piece is your absolute favourite for its versatility and how would you style it uniquely?

“I love every single piece in this collection, so it’s difficult for me to choose my favourite! But if really I had to pick one, I’d love to highlight our co-ord sets, namely the Janesuda x Pomelo Lace Short Sleeve Top (RM219) and Janesuda x Pomelo Lace High Waist Shorts (RM175) in two colours, white and blue.”

Photography: Pomelo
Photography: Pomelo

“They are must-have pieces that are inspired by Janesuda collection’s best-selling original pieces. I’d love for my customers to style them together as a set or pair them with jeans and other tops of their own, as styled in the lookbook images. My personal favourite way to style them would be with a bikini set; the top can be worn as an outerwear, which makes it the perfect outfit for a beach vacay!”

What kind of accessories would you recommend Pomelo girls to match your collection with?

“Delicate and minimalistic gold or silver hardware jewellery will add an elegant touch to the pieces in this collection. You can opt for the 18K Gold Titanium Heart Pearl Earrings in Gold from Low Dose (RM205) and Layered Pearl Pendant Necklace in Gold (RM45).”

Photography: Pomelo

If you could pick one song to go with this collection, what would it be?

Let’s Get Lost by Chet Baker – he’s a jazz musician that I adore so much! He usually makes sad songs but this one’s a happy song that lightens up your mood and invites you to wear Janesuda x Pomelo while ‘getting lost’ together.”

5 other Janesuda x Pomelo pieces that top my list:

Janesuda x Pomelo Lace Cut Out Midi Dress – Beige, RM384
“This is a signature Janesuda design. It’s not just a lace dress; we created this together with the Pomelo team by using a lace trim and creating a new pattern to it by sticking them together one by one. It’s so easy to wear on any occasion; in the daytime you can wear it with sneakers or flats, but at night you can change into high heels. Unfortunately this dress is already sold out (in this colour) but it’s still available in lavender blue that’s really nice as well!” – Janesuda
Janesuda x Pomelo Flower Cut Out Midi Dress – Print (left), RM299 & Flower Puffed Sleeve Mini Dress – Print, RM265
(Left) “This one has the same pattern as the dress before, except it comes with a print. When we created this collection during the pandemic, the mood of the whole world was really down, so I wanted to make a print that would make people smile or be in a colour that would lift up their spirits. I’ve always associated happiness with the colour yellow, which makes me smile and feel happier instantly, and I think the flower print can’t be any more perfect!” – Janesuda
(Right) “Another signature Janesuda piece from the main collection which I thought I needed to include in this line, this dress is easy to wear, very stylish and suitable for any occasion – from a picnic to a trip to the mall!” – Janesuda
Janesuda x Pomelo Lace O-Ring Midi Dress – Multi Color, RM325
“This sustainable piece comes with real wooden hoops that makes the dress more interesting although the pattern on the lace that we used is already so pretty and sustainable!” – Janesuda
Janesuda x Pomelo Sustainable Tiered Midi Dress – Multi Color, RM325
“For this dress, we mixed patterns and fabrics together with BCI cotton. We used four different colours and mixed them together while adding a girly touch in the form of the bow on the shoulder!” – Janesuda

Shop the Janesuda x Pomelo collection (RM159 to RM384) on the Pomelo app via iOS and Android, online store and 1 Utama store.

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