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

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • News Analysis: Defiance can last for how long?

    The Cambodian government has so far stood strong in the face of mounting international pressure over its treatment of critics, but analysts, diplomats and ruling party officials now wonder how long the defiance can last. The European Union has led the firestorm of criticism, threatening

  • ‘Freedom fighters’ or ‘foreign puppets?’

    Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) official Meach Sovannara was joined by supporters at a rally in California on Saturday, where a US lawmaker hailed members of the outlawed opposition as “great freedom fighters”. However, a Cambodian government spokesman said such a phrase belonged to