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Two male models show off the new line by French designer Eric Raisina
Two male models show off the new line by French designer Eric Raisina. Hong Menea

New faces and threads at Designers Week

Origami-like coats, Polynesian patterns and pirate bananas mixed global style with imagination in Phnom Penh last night, as models walked in new looks by local designers.

Phnom Penh Designers Week, an invitation-only trade show held these past Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at Plantation Urban Resort, brought together nine professional designers, five of whom are Cambodian.

Organised by Photo Lab, a new fashion magazine from the former editors of F Magazine, the event followed last June’s first Designers Week.

In addition to bigger players like Waterlily, A.N.D. and Eric Raisina, three young designers – two from Cambodia and one from the Philippines – were given the opportunity to showcase their collections.

Kim Sour, a 33-year-old who recently graduated from the University of Lim Kokwing’s fashion school in Phnom Penh, said: “It is very important, because I need Designers Week to show myself to other people, to know about me and know about my collection.

His elegant evening gowns, hats and coats were inspired by the intricate folds of Japanese origami.

Don Protasio, co-organiser and a featured designer, said on Sunday that the event had already brought customers to the stores. “The designers are happy, and the customers are happy – it makes the fashion [world] go ’round.”

Protasio added that Cambodia’s fashion scene has evolved significantly since last year’s festivities, with fashion events becoming increasingly common in Phnom Penh and new designers showing their lines.

“Unlike before, [when] you usually saw the usual names, right now there’s been a lot of new names.”

Next month will see an even bigger show, Cambodia Fashion Illumination Spring/Summer 2014, taking place at Koh Pich City Hall on February 21 and 22. Sponsored by luxury goods importer Sovereign Retail group, the show is to feature 17 brands from Cambodia and beyond, including Levi’s, Axara and MANGO.

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