Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - In New Zealand, nobody does it like Dara Lee




In New Zealand, nobody does it like Dara Lee

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A model shows off the costume creation of Lee Dara Punleu, aka Dara Lee, in New Zealand. Photo supplied

In New Zealand, nobody does it like Dara Lee

Despite not winning the best-in-show award like he did last year, Khmer designer Lee Dara Punleu, 23, was selected people’s choice at the Best Edible Fashions contest in New Zealand for his traditional Kenor costume made of kitchen products.

Known as Dara Lee, the designer has lived on the island nation since he was a young boy, but has gotten encouragement and recognition from fans worldwide via social media.

Kenor, a traditional dance costume popularised during the reign of King Sisowath, was reimaged in an offbeat way when Dara Lee constructed his outfit using pizza boxes, plastic plates and spoons, bottles, cans, buckets, pasta, aluminium and paper.

Held annually in New Zealand since 2006, the Edible Fashion Awards showcase creative designers who make clothing and jewellery from household or food products.

Sure enough, when voting closed on Sunday, Dara Lee’s photo had gotten the most votes out of all 47 contestants and was awarded the 2018 Sprouts In-Home Childcare People’s Choice Award.

Catching up with The Post, Dara Lee said, “I am very thankful . . . I’m waiting for [the judges] to contact me, then I will know what I am going to do next.” Giving a shout out to all the supporters in his native country, he posted: “I will try with all my best efforts to promote Khmer arts and Khmer culture to the world.”

The young man who studies 3D animation confirmed he intends to keep showing pieces that advance Khmer traditional arts, saying, “next year, I will compete in a similar event. It’s a larger platform called ‘World of Wearable Arts’”.

The designer of the year award went to Katherine Bertram, whose “There Are Many More Fish in the Sea” garment was made from rice paper, squid ink and dried anchovies, mackerel and fish skin.

“Peace and Diversity” was the theme of the contest this year, while last year’s was “Myth and Legend”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,