cait +tiff


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guest post / koheun goes the distance

Cait and Tiff are taking the week off!  Cait’s literally somewhere in the air and Tiff is buzzing around the city on her wheels.  This Monday, we’ve got some video fun from our pal Koheun!  You remember her fun fun romper, right?  Koheun left us and Phnom Penh a few months ago, but she’s been creating up a storm of fun all around the world since then.  Today she shares with us everything that’s all about that, working with her man, flying everywhere together, and sometimes apart.  And she even gives a glimpse on how she creates #kohonthego.  We love this post so much. Thank you Koh and happy monday, everyone!!


Photo Credit: Koheun Lee and her #kohonthego

Photo Credit: Koheun Lee and her #kohonthego

Long distance is like exercise.

  1. Most people don’t really like to, want to, choose to, enjoy, insert-any-other-happy-word doing it (everyone else is lying).

  2. There comes a point when you think there’s no way you’re gonna make it. Either from being on the verge of tears (I’m talking about Justin – that guy cries literally all the time (someone create a typographical emphasis for sarcasm already)) or barfing.

  3. By the time you’re getting close to the end, you feel like you could have kept going. Gone one more week. Done one more round.

It’s kind of like creativity in that sense. No? Too loose of a connection? Too many metaphors for one post? Too bad.

My coach in advertising school used to say that our most creative ideas come when we hit a block… and push through it. Not that the ideas that come before that aren’t creative, they’re just a little predictable in the sense that they’re probably things that are on the front of our minds. I’m a systems and process oriented person – even when it comes to something as fluid as creativity. That’s how my brain was wired and that’s how I was trained. XYZ steps need to be taken before arriving at something.

This is a long intro into what it’s like to work with another creative person who views it a little differently. Someone who is a do-er in every sense of the word and is adamant that creativity demands action (I don’t disagree). The creative process with Justin looks something like – do. No faffing around. Get infected by an idea and just create.

That’s how writing this post started.

That’s how “tell us about #kohonthego” went from me saying “Uh, I like traveling. Photos are cool. I like making things. Instagram. Cutouts. Blah. Words.” to a sweet video.

That’s how we got to experience first date jitters over a year into dating.

That’s how we’ll probably end up making a video about how traveling isn’t as romantic as it looks, how words like wanderlust should cease to exist, and how people should just get out there and do things.

I can’t really take credit for the creation of these videos as much as say I’m starting off my career in acting.

Nothing about the way we grew up, to the way we met, to the way we happen to make things together from time to time has been conventional. And everything on the internets always looks like too much fun (even to us in hindsight).

So on (long distance) relationships, exercising, our creating in any sense of the word, keep on pushin.

 


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Join the CULT

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Don’t worry, the blog hasn’t take a turn for the weird, yet at least.

This CULT stands for “Cambodia’s Ultimate Lifestyle Trade” and was founded by Ludi and Katia, the cool kids behind Bee Vintage and Good Krama. These two chicks wanted to bring together the Phnom Penh community in a fun way, while highlighting the artists and designers in town that are doing awesome, creative, sustainable stuff. And when we met up with these wonderful ladies last week, they had just partnered up with Cleanbodia, who will be supplying the event with biodegradable shopping bags!  These little guys take the sustainable part of shopping at this market up a notch and are made with organic matter like cassava and coconut instead of plastic.  This makes us beyond happy.

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This is going to be a monthly event (YAY!) and we get to look forward to the second Thursday of the month with CULT. The first one is this Thursday, June 9 at Cloud (#32E0, street 9, Phnom Penh).  With sponsorship from Cloud, The Pelican Food Company and Cleanbodia.

Some of the super talented creatives and brands who will be at CULT include:

ALCHEMY

AMBOH ESPADRILLE

A.N.D.

BEE VINTAGE

FUNKYJUNK RECYCLED

GOOD KRAMA

JUNGLE & JARDIN

LA BOOTS

TRAVEL ROLLS BY RAPHAËL SEYFRIED

We can’t wait to get our shop on.

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C + T / Gratitude and Kate Korpi

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You have heard a lot about Kate Korpi Salon from us in the last new months, and that’s no accident. We have written about these beauty wizards a few times now: the runway show prep, the salon itself, and Brianne’s make up party time. We use the Kate Korpi team for photo shoots, for video segments, and for our own personal tune-ups.  This means we’re there a little more than most.  And we love it.

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The salon doubles as a training school for Khmer students, and every morning the team and its small cohort of ultra talented students start with a moment for gratitude. A lot of the students in the program come from tough backgrounds, and this moment is for them to focus on progress, the things they have learned, and what they are thankful for. After a few moments of our own in the last week, we wanted to send a little gratitude to them.

The team at the salon is a constant source of good energy, crazy talent, and belly laughs. From the moment they answer your call, the warmth you receive when you enter the salon and the big hugs after the whole experience, there is warmth all over (the kind of warmth you want in this tropical heat).  They have managed to master the total cool-kid vibe, without a whiff of snobbery. The staff is kind, generous, and has made us feel great on even our worst days.  The Kate Korpi experience is transformative on so many levels.  We leave feeling and looking so good, and counting down the days before we can go again.

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Bad vibes go here to die, and come out with a sexy cat-eye and Bardot hair. Thank you, Kate Korpi family, for the hugs, the badass hair, the smokey eye, the giggles in between, and making it one of our favorite places to be.signatures


All photos by Cait + Tiff.  Please request permission for use.  We are not liable for costs incurred for spiritual, hair or look transformations as a result of visits to Kate Korpi.


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C / Compassion Collective

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First off, thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special this week.

I have received a lot of love in the last few days, thanks to people using the internet for good, instead of evil. I ate a remarkable amount of cake, spent the day with people I love, and fell asleep on the couch. It was a better-than-average Wednesday.

My brother and I generally don’t exchange gifts for birthdays, because he lives in Chicago, and I am here. He’s older than me by a few years and our birthdays are only 5 days apart, meaning we spent a few years sharing birthday parties, which sort of worked out. I was a very jealous child, and somewhere, there is a photo of us, with my brother opening a gift by the pool. I am standing next to him, in my ill-fitting bathing suit with my arms crossed, giving him the fiercest side-eye to ever cross the face of a nine year old. Relative maturity hit later on in life for me.

He sent me a nice note for my birthday a few days ago, and broke our usual, no-gift pattern. He had donated to The Compassion Collective in my name, one of my sister-in-law’s favorite organizations. They work with kids all over, but mostly focus on families affected by refugee issues and homeless youth in the US. I had heard about them before through the Elizabeth Gilbert/Brene Brown/Cheryl Strayed-love-power team, but I wasn’t fully aware of what they are doing.

After going through the website more, I’m so in. The people behind it are some of my favorites, including the human heart with legs, Glennon Doyle Melton, of Momastery. They collect the money using their reach and network, and then work alongside the pros to make sure the money is going to all the right places.

I encourage you to look at what they are doing, it is truly wonderful. This gift was unexpected, and so appreciated. It’s a reminder to me of what is important, and how to lean in to the feelings, and not shut down just to keep your own heart safe. Read more about them, because they can say it better than I can.

“Because love is not Either/Or. Love is AND/BOTH.”

Cover Photo

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C / Part of Your World / Vitamin A

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Welcome to the second installment of Part of Your World. This is where I stalk companies that I want to work for and passively put my respect and love for them out into the world.

I have been looking around for a great swimwear company for a while, without much luck. I have found a number of beautiful, ethical lines that I love, but paying Net-a-Porter prices isn’t going to happen. I am happy to pay for quality, but $500 for a top isn’t something that is happening for me right now, or ever.

I came across Vitamin A, a company based in California and inspired by cool-kid beach culture. Amalia Stevens, the head of design and company founder, believes in using the right stuff, made my the right people, which I really like. Not cheap, but their products are beautiful, with great prints and made from sustainable fabrics. I love the creative cuts and jungle prints that make swim wear and lounge gear feel put together. These are some of my favorites.

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That last one looks like a damn superhero outfit, which is sort of what I want to feel like at the beach.


All photos via Vitamin A, and that alien-gorgeous model.

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C + T / Good Krama

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This city just keeps getting cooler (though not on a thermometer). Adding to the list of awesome in this funny little city is Good Krama. Good Krama is an ethical clothing company with an edge.

Good Krama isn’t new to the scene here, but they do have a new cool girl at the helm, Katia. She’s French, but raised in San Francisco, and if that didn’t make her cool enough already, she also has a degree in Environmental economics. Basically, she knows her stuff and can pull off a killer cat eye at the same time.

Good Krama uses local fabrics, including the traditional Cambodian krama*, locally woven silks, sustainable fabrics like tencil, and up-cycled materials from deadstock or surplus fabrics from local garment manufacturers.

What’s interesting about the company is that their design doesn’t cater to expats or western tourists. Katia, who leads the design team, uses inspiration from local Cambodian trends, making a lot of the pieces much more interesting than your standard tank top.

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Left: Cait in the Khiev krama. Right: The Arunny krama. Both 100% handmade, 100% organza silk.  Check out all the Good Kramas here

We partnered with Good Krama to do a fun shoot with a few of our favorite pieces from their new line. Our best impressions of edgy super models below.

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Tiff in the signature Good Krama Borei Snapback while also rocking the 100% linen Vithu pant.

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Cait in a new hoodie coming soon!

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Tiff in the GKxChifumi Faded Tank. Made from 100% upcycled cotton.

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Cait in the Sov Tee.

We are planning fun things with these great people soon, so watch this space for updates!


All photos by Cait+Tiff. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for krama love.

 


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C / Said Mahrouf

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I am in the process of designing a wedding dress for one of the coolest humans I have met in Phnom Penh. She’s French/Moroccan, a lawyer, gorgeous, and a genuinely lovely person to be around. How annoying. I want to make sure this dress matches her personality and effortless sense of style. What I don’t want to do is make a basic dress for a not-at-all basic lady.

I have been looking at Moroccan art, architecture, and traditional clothing for the past week. I want the dress to have a subtle element of Moroccan culture, but steer clear of the appropriative and the “look at me, I’m at a festival” vibe.

In my research for the design, I came upon Said Mahrouf. Mahrouf is a Moroccan-born, New York/Amsterdam trained designer. He launched in 2007, and I am sad I only just found out about him. His women’s wear manages to be breezy while structured, and creative, while wearable. I want all of it on me, right now. Especially that green and grey business, hot damn.

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Going broke just looking at these. Sadly, I’m not sure if he is still designing, and he hasn’t released anything for 2016. Here’s hoping he is waiting for fashion week in September.

All photos property of Said Mahrouf

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C / Vetta Capsule

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There are a lot of great brands out there who are working really hard to make gorgeous clothes without being evil. My favorite one right now hasn’t even launched yet, it’s called Vetta Capsule. The brand focuses on making high-quality clothing through ethical and sustainable processes.

The company was started by two friends, Vanessa and Cara, both with experience in fashion design, buying and sustainable fashion advocacy. These ladies and their brand tick all the right boxes for me:

  • Vetta Capsule ensures ethical working conditions and fare wages in their production center in New York city.
  • They use only three fabrics, all sustainable.
  • They work hard on fit, making sure their pieces don’t only look great on models, but on actual human beings that eat food.
  • Run by two awesome ladies, based in NYC and South Africa. (This isn’t a requirement for me to buy clothes, I just think they sound really cool.)
  • The clothes are great on their own, and the two of them clearly know fashion, trends, and classic pieces that you won’t want to throw away, maybe ever.
  • They are selling the pieces at wholesale prices, making them affordable as well.

Vetta Capsule is currently running a Kickstarter campaign which I HIGHLY recommend supporting. For your reward, you can pick different pieces from the collection, and they will ship it anywhere in the world. No excuses, people living in weird corners of the planet. Just look at the clothes and try to not buy them. You can’t.

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With the emphasis on buying less, better things, they have 5 pieces to choose from, which can be turned into 30 separate looks when combined. It’s so neat.

In case the obvious fan-girling is just too much for you, check out their website, www.vettacapsule.com. Also creep on their Instagram, @vettacapsuleFive more days to support the Kickstarter, so get to it.

Also, I think we would be friends. Sorry if that’s weird.

All photos are property of Vetta Capsule

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C + T / Kate Korpi

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Tiff and Cait have pretty high standards when it comes to hair and faces. We think they are both pretty important things, and we want them well-taken care of. We are constantly looking for great new places, and we were thrilled to come across Kate Korpi Salon. The sixth-floor salon is relatively new in Phnom Penh, and located in the SunCity complex. Despite it’s new-kid status in the Penh, it’s set the standard for quality pretty-making services.

The owner of Kate Korpi, Matthew Fairfax, was introduced to Cambodia through a client while he was living in Seattle. He had been managing a high-end salon and one of the patrons insisted that he talk to her friend about Cambodia. With a fair amount of skepticism and good manners, Matthew agreed to a coffee, and the rest is history. As he said in our interview, coffee is dangerous.

After a few years of visits to Cambodia, research, local interviews and second guessing, Matthew made the decision to pack up his life in Seattle and move to Phnom Penh. But before making the big move across the big blue, he pulled together a team of experts to kick-start the salon. Enter Brianne and Timea, the lead hair stylist/colorist and make up artist, who are just like your coolest friends, but they make you better looking every time you see them. Alana joined the team a few months ago, as another hair wizard, and is a wonderful addition to the team.

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Brianne at work

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Matthew providing entertainment

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Timea and Lucinda, bonding over blowouts

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Tiff’s transformation to ombre

Kate Korpi isn’t only a salon, it also serves as a training center for young Cambodians who want to work in the industry. Each year, Matthew returns to Seattle for the annual fundraiser, Fashion SOULstice, which looks like a ton on fun. The money raised at this event goes into providing scholarships for students participating in the two year program. Most of the students in the program come from rough beginnings and it’s no secret that Cambodia has it’s fair share of human rights issues to deal with. Some of the students participating in the training program have been through the worst of it.

The training system at Kate Korpi starts with the basics, things like shampooing and drying, and as the student starts to grow, the training program grows with them. The goal of the program isn’t to shape the student into someone who can make it in Cambodia, but to help them become someone who can make it any where in the world. They instructors keep standards in the salon incredibly high, and they take the “Nordstrom” route when it comes to customer satisfaction: if you aren’t happy, they will fix it and make sure you leave with what you came for.

Along with the training in technical skills, the students are given leadership training and life-skills training, which is everything from general management to lessons in budgeting. It has become a place for previously vulnerable people to become empowered and change their own lives.

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One of the coolest things about the salon is that they attract stylists from all over the world. Guest artists come to Cambodia for a minimum of one month (ideally more), work with the team, help out with the training, all while exploring a crazy new country. (Attention cool stylist friends: please come visit!)

For Cait’s show last month, the amazing team at Kate Korpi took the reigns for hair and make up, and made it work for all 16 ladies in one afternoon. Total pros.

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Thanks, Kate Korpi, for being a wonderful place to get beautified, and for doing such beautiful things in the world.

Kate Korpi Salon

#255 Street 51, corner of 370

For appointments, call 023 988 166


 

Photos are property of Tiffany Tsang and Julia White.

Please request permission for use.

 

 

 


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C + T / colorblind

Colorblind-HeaderJean-Benoit Lasselin arrived in Phnom Penh without the intention of becoming one of Cambodia’s most interesting and creative designers. But of course, he did just that. With a background in political communication, JB touched down Cambodia in 2008 with a few classmates, looking for an adventure. He got one. 

He was raised in France and his grandmother is Vietnamese. He didn’t learn the language, which he now regrets. The family wanted to assimilate into French society, and that meant focusing on French. (Though having Vietnamese these days would have really helped with regional suppliers…)

It’s just they were immigrants from Vietnam. So they wanted to integrate with the high-French society, so we had to. We grew up with very strong codes of being very French and how to be super French…more French than the French.

03---JB-standing.jpgJB took a communications job, but spent a lot of his time at the tailor. Known for his natural sense of style, friends would ask for his help when getting a suit made, or whenever they needed something made with a bit more class. Eventually, his reputation got the best of him when a friend asked him to present a collection for the 2011 Phnom Penh fashion week. He had a month to put it all together, and had never done it before. No big deal.02---JB's-Tools.jpgAfter a month without sleep, the show went off without a hitch. One of his best friends was once a model and was able to guide him through what a fashion show should look like. He was one of the few designers showing men’s fashion and his line was a huge hit. After the show, he became so busy with his new project that he left his full time job to pursue a career in fashion. And that’s how Colorblind was born.04---JB-and-jacket.jpgIt’s worth noting the name of the company. JB is, in fact, colorblind. He sees shade, warm vs. cool, dark vs. light, but never the exact color. He relies heavily on how each fabric feels, and sources fabrics from France to India. The textures and non-traditional colors add a beautiful element of the unexpected to his designs, and every piece feels unique.05---Striped-Tie.jpg

13---Hankerchiefs.jpgHe cares deeply about the clothes that he makes and works with every customer to ensure they are happy with the details. He gives advice as to what cut would look best, how many buttons should go in the front, if the fabric will wrinkle well, and if the piece is more for work or for a wedding. He knows his stuff. He will recommend a fit, but can can adapt to what the customer wants.

My favorite part is when I have a couple and you have a man trying on the suit and the wife is sitting here and the man asks ‘how do I look?’  And the wife is like ‘smiling and nodding head.’ It’s the best reward I could ask for. You should get that one in every color.

Customers often start out with a “safer” option for a suit, and then as they figure out how fun it really is to have red polka-dots in the lining, they do that in the next order.

He likes to change it up and bit, and does two full collections a year, a long with the ready-to-wear line that is sold at the Sofitel in Phnom Penh. It’s uncommon for most designers here to have more than one collection a year, so it can be a struggle convincing the team that its worth it, but it absolutely is.

You can visit JB at his shop on street 57, near the corner of street 294. If you go in for a look, be warned that you may leave with a suit. And a quick word of advice, let him do his thing. You won’t regret the polka-dots. 08---Cait-Cuffed.jpg

Visit Colorblind for more information.


 

All photos by Tiffany Tsang, please request permission for use.