Bhumibol Adulyadej

Bangkok returns to mourning colors, but what of the future?

Tucked in his cramped clothing stall in an enormous Thai mall, Pirumchai Asiram sits on a plastic chair flanked by two worlds — bright, vibrantly colored shirts and dresses to his right, neat stacks of somber apparel in blacks and whites to his left. Ask him which sells better, and he'll smile.

"Not these," he says emphatically, pointing to the loud clothing. "These brighter things we sell for foreigners. Thai people, they don't wear this kind of design since the king passed away."

Walk the bargain clothing stalls in MBK Center and you'll hear quite a bit of this. At the Orchid clothing store, vendor Arunee Narasri reports shops selling up to 10,000...