Turning to tailoring clothes​ of youth

Turning to tailoring clothes​ of youth

110803_lift07

Walk north from O’Russei market, and you’ll come upon a bustling street where the motorbikes are parked two deep and traffic squeezes between them. Crowds of people stand on the pavement, raising voices in a bargaining war with merchants.  Colourful pieces of cloth in a variety of styles hang from the walls of shops to attract customers. Vendors yell solicitations such as, “Come and see!” as you drive slowly by.  This is the tailor street, a whole block with a growing number of businesses catering to fabric shoppers throughout Phnom Penh.

The crowded street is a convenient stop, especially for men looking to buy cloth to make into shirts and trousers.  While buying cloth, Sok Theara, 22, said he came for the convenient parking and the cheaper prices, often cheaper than buying ready-made clothes.

“For about $8, I can find a shirt that fits the contours of my body exactly,” he said, adding that he rarely buys    shirts in stores any more.  

Sok Eng, owner of the cloth stalls located near the end of the first block, has been in business for more than 10 years.

She told LIFT most of her customers were men, although she also has options  for female buyers.  “When they buy here, they get exactly the style they prefer because I have a tailor on site,” Sok Seng said.  She added that many of her female customers came only to have simple shirts made for school and work uniforms.

In fact, every store on the street has its own tailor, so customers can have their clothing tailored right after they’ve bought it.

Phuong Saren, a tailor since 1993, said he makes a pretty good living.  He also explained why women frequented tailor shops less often than men.

“Usually, female shirts require a more sophisticated style, and women might feel uncomfortable during the measuring process if the tailor is male,” he said.

Despite the increasing popularity of tailored clothing among teenagers in Cambodia, cloth dealers still complain about slim profit margins, caused mainly by the sheer number of competitors in the business.  Sok Eng claimed that a few years ago, she could turn a better profit than she does today.

“When there were not many sellers, I could sell for a higher price.  But now I’ve had to lower the prices at my stall so I can still attract customers,” she said.

Other stalls are not Sok  Eng’s only competitors, as many shops have begun importing cloth from other countries at a more affordable price.

Mao Bun Ratana, the owner of Mr. Man Fashion, has just opened two other branches of his clothing shop on Street 215 because of potential demand.

He said that ready-made clothes were now priced similarly to tailored ones and he could provide customers with more of a choice in size, style and colour.

“I usually try to conduct market surveys with customers so I can order shipments of their favourite styles,” Mao Bun Ratana said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • Woman who scaled Cambodia’s three highest peaks eyes Everest

    One of the very few Cambodian women to have successfully reached the Kingdom’s three highest peaks is now eyeing Malaysia’s tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, and potentially even the world’s tallest straddling Nepal and China, Mount Everest. While in many Western countries it

  • Cheap, clean and efficient: The firm leading Cambodia’s solar revolution

    Sitting in her bright and airy 17th floor office, Rithya Menon, Okra Smart Solar’s lead firmware engineer, checks the frequently updating data telling her everything about how well their community services are operating. “I saw in the data that there was a problem with

  • PM Hun Sen: Cambodia will not die without EBA scheme

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday reiterated that he would not be overly concerned if Cambodia had its access to the EU’s “Everything But Arms” (EBA) scheme withdrawn because the Kingdom would not die without it. Hun Sen was speaking to factory workers in