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Trashy youth fashion

An environmental youth group stages a fashion shows with eye-catching clothes and accessories all made from recyled waste paper and plastic

HENG CHIVOAN

Youth of Peace volunteers model fashions made of discarded materials at a fashion show last Friday night outside Pencil's riverside supermarket in Phnom Penh. The show was aimed at raising awareness of recycling and the environment.

ABOUT 50 people gathered around a small stage in front of the Pencil supermarket on Phnom Penh's riverside Friday night to watch a fashion show in which the things other people throw away have been fashioned into clothes and other accessories, illustrating how rubbish can be recycled into something beautiful.

The show was organised by Youth of Peace (YOPEC) in partnership with Khmer Youth and Social Development Organization (KYSD) and East West Management Institute.

Members of YOPEC collected money from people in markets, universities and other organisations to help fund the project, which cost US$90 to stage.

Plastic fantastic

"We have a very fantastic fashion show which people have come along to watch. We have modern clothes to show that we made from plastic we collected along the road and our houses," said Van Chanmony, a YOPEC volunteer and third-year student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

"Some people say rubbish isn't useful and they throw it away, but actually it is very important. For example we can recycle it to make bags and bracelets," said YOPEC Director Thon Saykhim in presenting the idea for the show.

We show people ... that rubbish can be reinvented into different things. we want to involve people directly rather than just tell them.

"The youth in YOPEC designed clothes from rubbish and we hope that after this program some people will understand more about the importantance of recycling. Most of the rubbish we collected to design these clothes or other things is plastic and paper that we collected on the road or from our own homes."
"It's difficult to do the first time, but after a while we can do it easily."

"We show people this through the fashion show and competition that rubbish can be reinvented into different things," she said.

HENG CHIVOAN

Discarded paper is refashioned into trendy accessories by the Youth of Peace.

"We want to involve people directly rather than just tell them."

She added, "We had goals for making this program. We are actually students, but we took our time to do this program in order to tell people that rubbish is important and useful. We want to clean the environment of our city so that it is healthy and beautiful.

"Our plan was not to seek benefit or profit from the program, but we wanted all young people to know about the advantages and disadvantages of rubbish," she said.

Surprise people

"Most of what people throw away and think of as not important is for me very useful if we take it and use it again," said Van Chanmony.

"I am a student who is studying about the environment," Van Chanmony said.

"I think that rubbish impacts strongly on the environment when we throw it away, and if I can I want to educate people about how rubbish can be useful."

"I want to surprise people by showing them the advantages of rubbish, but I don't know how much they get it," he laughed.

"I hope all of them will continue their work related to the rubbish in order to make our environment in Cambodia get better and better," said YOPEC adviser Lauren Dickerson.

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