The founder of Mysterious Ordinary, a creative and cultural consultancy that specialises in working with filmmakers, designers, artists and brands, Dr Chomwan Weeraworawit Huang is also the co-founder of fashion label Philip Huang—named after her husband, the first Asian male model to hit the high fashion runways. In addition, she is a member of Thailand Tatler’s Generation T 2018 Tribe, the panel of industry experts that picks the 50 bright young talents that make up our annual Generation T list.
Bangkok-born Chomwan experienced quite a nomadic childhood. Her father, a diplomat, took the family to the UK on a posting as a secretary to the Thai ambassador when she was just two years old and stints in Indonesia, England, France for school, and the United States followed.
Although she successfully completed a bachelor’s degree at King’s College in London and a master’s at the Sorbonne in Paris, both in law, all Chomwan ever wanted to do was attend art school. Hence, with her keen interest in the world of art and fashion, she went on to obtain a doctorate in law from King’s College London with intellectual property and textiles as the emphasis of her thesis. “I wanted to understand the textile industry and how intellectual property could be used as a tool with regards to branding and its relationship with copyright and trademark,” she says. “I also wanted to see how geographical indications and traditional knowledge could be used to empower rural weavers and artisans.”
Chomwan spent four years in Bangkok conducting research, which eventually led to the co-founding of upmarket sportswear brand Nsha in 2007 with Nishita Shah. Her involvement in the brand lasted about two years before she moved on to new experiences. Her next role saw her putting together an intellectual property strategy for Thailand’s largest and oldest TV and media network, MCOT. “I ended up working mostly with MCOT’s international partners and somehow that evolved into me working with Thai filmmakers,” she explains. “It gave me connections in the film industry and the courage to strike out on my own.” In 2011, together with Nat Sarasas, Chomwan co-founded Film on the Rocks Yao Noi festival which was co-curated by renowned filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul and actress Tilda Swinton. The festival included projects like a floating cinema and screenings in rice paddies.
(More society profiles: Yanin Viravaidya Proves Her Ground)
While the 37-year-old is on a quest to indulge her own creative drive, she is also the mother of three—a five-year-old daughter and three-year-old twins. It was after finding out she was having twins in 2014 that the family decided to leave New York and return to Bangkok. “Juggling my family, the children and work is made possible by being at home here in Thailand,” she says.
The epitome of the modern, versatile working woman, Chomwan has also been editor-at-large for Two magazine and has moonlighted often in fashion and art, which explains why so many of her friends are models, artists and designers—a number of whom she also works with through Mysterious Ordinary. At present she is consulting on a video and performance art series curated by artist Korakrit Arunanondchai, which will coincide with the opening of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. Responsible for partnerships and communication for this project alongside strategies for her existing clients (while also overseeing Philip Huang’s creative direction and communication), she is kept busy.
Mysterious Ordinary is much more than a consultancy service for Chomwan, who sees it as a platform to bring people together from varying disciplines to create alternative solutions and ideas. “Looking ahead, apart from growing my consultancy and the Philip Huang brand, we will hopefully resurrect the Film on the Rocks in Myanmar,” she smiles.