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In its latest show, the fashion studio showcased creations representing endangered animals from the Tonle Sap
PHNOM PENH – Endangered birds, fish and turtles of the Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia were presented as attires in a beautiful and unique fashion show held at Future Factory in Phnom Penh’s historical center.
The dresses were designed as endangered species to raise awareness of nature protection and conservation, and to encourage the public to participate in protecting the beauties of Cambodian nature.
Before being turned into pieces of art by the Fashion studio La Chhouk, these attires used to be rubbish. Old cement or plastic bags, ropes, wires, cardboard, newspapers or straws were then cleaned, designed and assembled to create the unique dresses exhibited at the show.
Ith Sovannareach, a co-founder of La Chhouk said that these designs were inspired by sarus cranes, spot-billed pelicans, greater adjutants, Bengal floricans, isok barbs, giant catfish and yellow-headed temple turtles. All of them being wild animals once abundant in the Cambodian natural landscapes, now threatened with extinction.
Displaying these species in a fashion show was a way to tell the audience that wildlife is under threat in Cambodia, he added.
“Instead of cosplay, which is mostly about replicating something that already exists, the design is entirely based on what inspires the creator,” he said. “We take the basic idea of an animal as a topic and then choose the features that best represent that animal.”
Sovannareach believes that, by catching the attention of the public, fashion shows can carry messages meaningful for society.
“Between history books and fairy tales, which one can be remembered faster? They are fairy tales. So, what we are interested in is that fashion shows bring clear and accessible information to the audience,” he said.
Ith Sovannareach, a co-founder of La Chhouk said that these designs were inspired by sarus cranes, spot-billed pelicans, greater adjutants, Bengal floricans, isok barbs, giant catfish and yellow-headed temple turtles. Photo from Sovannareach Ith
“If we only had written that these animals were almost destroyed, we wouldn’t have gathered many readers. But in a fashion show, the art performance brings people together and catches their attention.”
Eight different outfits were designed by eight designers. It took about a month to design them, collect, clean and tailor the raw materials.
“Most of the designers spend their weekends or time off working on the project or studying design techniques,” he said.
Their work was presented on April 22, which marked the Earth Day 2022.
Founded in 2014, La Chhouk has already created many shows in its eight-year existence, all of them based on the same concept: turning rubbish into art.