Sustainable development, environmental protection, and responsible fashion are no longer terms unknown to the general public. On the contrary, there are many initiatives crossing these themes, like the CHHOUK, a collective of Cambodian artists creating clothes from recycled materials.
A double mission: Khmer culture and awareness
Created in 2014 at the initiative of Ith Sovannareach, the artist collective of La Chhouk Recycled & Creative Fashion was born in the heart of the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh. Twenty students passionate about fashion and wishing to promote Cambodian culture, quickly convinced other students and companies from their first parades.
Fashion and awareness are the key words of this unique approach where waste becomes real materials of creation and design. The artistic approach is at the heart of this concept, which seeks by raising environmental awareness to achieve a result that is as aesthetic as it is authentic. The creation of dresses and accessories to raise awareness against waste while promoting the Cambodian LGBTQ community, still sometimes poorly perceived by residents, is the source of this initiative.
This useful approach sends a message and demonstrates the creative force of artists who are always open to new collaborations and partnerships. In 2019, they collaborated with the Swedish Embassy for the launch of a new television series and thus continue to demonstrate their willingness to want to change things.
A surprising concept: a second life for waste
Students and artists have been able to bring waste to life by recycling it to create unique and original pieces. Cardboard boxes, cans, and other raw materials were collected from street ragpickers, Etchays, and scrap metal vendors. The first task was to treat this garbage so as not to contaminate the skin of the models. Once perfectly cleaned, these original materials could be optimized and enhanced.
Fashion does not always rhyme with comfort ... Indeed, some materials can be unpleasant or difficult to wear, like plastic which makes you hot in a country where it is already over 30 degrees. But these challenges did not frighten the student collective, which was able to propose innovative solutions to dress the greatest Cambodian models, such as Miss Earth Cambodia, Em Kun Thong.
Promising international development
After a first experience abroad, and more specifically in Bangkok for a fashion show, and for the design of Miss Universe costumes in Thailand and Japan, the Chhouk is turning to the West by soon presenting its collections in the States -United during San Francisco Fashion Community Week.
And why not one day, come for a walk in the French capital?