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Forging fashion forward careers


Applying your sartorial finesse to workforce skills

Photo by: Pha Lina
Fittings fit for a star. Sen Pinchit (above) has been honing his tailoring craft for 13 years and hopes for Cambodian fashion to set precedents with radical concepts and eclectic designs.

ALTHOUGH everyone is free to express their own sense of style, fashion trends are often derived or spun from pop-culture, where glossy images are coined and culled throughout TV, films and music videos. Variations of these styles catch on with fashion-conscious youths who flock to malls and markets to emulate the hottest styles of the day.

Until recently, much of Cambodia’s popular entertainment has been adapted or revised from Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, India, Japan and the US, and therefore the trends trickling down from pop-culture reflect foreign fads and intercontinental styles more than locally-flavoured Khmer style.

However, in recent years, Cambodian production companies and television stations have begun making more movies, TV series and features and music videos starring locally groomed and bred talent.

The entertainment industry is employing more domestic actors, singers, directors and designers.

Due to the rise of locally made videos and images, there is an emerging style that is shaping up as uniquely Cambodian – a fusion between bold Asian modernity with the intricacy of couture.

While the faces of “Khmer style” might be the performers who grace the stages and screens in the country, the people who are designing their clothes are the ones judging what is classy or chic.

Sen Pinchit designs and tailors clothes for many of Cambodia’s most famous entertainers.

Ngem Sokun, female songstress Pich Sophea and Preap Sovat all hire him to design and tailor the clothes that they sport or adorn in their performances, and he is confident in his ability to please them.

“I can create anything,” Sen Pinchit said. “Someone just has to tell me what they want and they know I will deliver.” Although Sen Pinchit didn’t go to school to study fashion design, he has been practicing the craft since he was 18.

“When I was a teenager I remember seeing Michael Jackson on TV,” Sen Pinchit said with a heavily-sequined jacket hanging behind him.
“I told myself that in the future I would design clothes like that.”

While working as a tailor with his cousin Chreng Bunkhim at a shop north of the Japanese bridge, Sen Pinchit began to conceptualise his own clothes, and his work drew attention from comedian Kato Kaou, who hired him to design and tailor outfits for his comedy act.

He was soon being asked by a variety of stars of song, stage and film to make their clothes. Now he is well known among celebrities as the man to go to if you want to look fresh.

“He can make any kind of clothes,” said Preap Sovat, who often wears clothes made by Sen Pinchit in his performances. “He has great ideas and skills.”

While there are not any apparel design or merchandising schools in Cambodia yet, there are a growing number of high-end fashion boutiques that offer Khmer customised clothing.

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