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Local stylist reflects on how the world of traditional garb is now changing

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A couple poses for a photo in traditional Cambodian costumes. Photo supplied

Local stylist reflects on how the world of traditional garb is now changing

Yav Soyady has done photo shoots for celebrities such as Yan Linda, Saray Sakhana, Mai Ya, Tim Rotha, Eda and Thai actress Pancake, to name a few.

He has years of experience showcasing Khmer traditional costumes, but most of all he hopes the art form won’t be lost in time.

The Post’s Chhim Sreyneang sat down with Soyady, 31, the owner of Moment Dy Embellishment to talk about the industry of glamour shots.

How long has your business been established?

We started in 2016 so we’ve been operating for more than two years.

Who trained you and your staff?

Before I decided to open this business, I had a lot of experience. I’ve had the skills for over a decade. I previously worked for some of the most well-known studios in Cambodia. My staff are all professionally trained before they are sent out to serve customers.

Why did you decide to open this business?

I have had my skills since I was young, which made me even more passionate about the sector and about Khmer traditional culture. I want to preserve it and show the younger generations what the true culture is.

At the moment, I see some professional arrangements that don’t present the costumes properly. Some follow only bits of the culture. This is what I see in the current society.

What do you think about the developments in the sector?

Some designers like to take elements of Thai culture in order to look different. I realise this is unique, but I want to be true to Khmer culture. Some changes are acceptable, but the belts and bracelets we keep to Khmer. We cannot take 100 per cent from others.

What are your concerns about trends for Cambodian wedding arrangements?

I have a lot of concerns and worries about some of the arrangements. If we continue to dilute the styles, it will make the next generation less familiar with our traditions. They will not know the specifics of Khmer bracelets or belts, but only what foreign cultures bring.

In my experience throughout the years, I have seen things change, but many of the original forms have stayed. We still know the kind of clothes that should be worn for each ceremony.

What kinds of styles do you think arrangements should adhere to in order to further the industry?

I think the industry should maintain Khmer culture, and I suggest that everyone has clear knowledge about the traditions before opening their own business. They should have at least three years of experience before opening a shop. It isn’t just the money that matters.

Whether it is cosmetics, hairstyling or jewellery, the business owners need experience and a love for the art. They need to know the trends from each season to the next.

Even if we want to update the styles and make them modern, we cannot erase the old traditions completely. We can develop and stay true to Khmer style at the same time.

Additionally, it’s important that business owners are honest with their customers, punctual, and take time to set up the traditional costumes in the proper way.

How does the sector contribute to maintaining Khmer culture and traditions?

These traditional costumes clearly show Cambodian identity. They are original Khmer. Whether they concern the clothes, necklaces, earrings or bracelets, we show what it means to be Khmer.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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