cait +tiff


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T / client love / penh lane and khmer creations

KC-HeaderWhen you’re first starting out, you’ve got to be infinitely grateful for the clients who come to you. And even more thankful for the ones who are patient enough to understand that you are still learning.  This is when I learned that white background product photography is one tough cookie.  There was definitely more than one attempt to produce this:

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Angkor Necklace and Turning Leaf Bracelet by Khmer Creations available through Penh Lane.

Eventually you figure things out, and that relationship with your very patient client grows into something awesome.

So I wanted to give a shoutout today to a client who first came to me out of nowhere to me last year.  Khmer Creations Jewellery Studio was first founded by one, two and then three ladies.  Antonia and Jane, who are from Australia, joined forces with Samnang to create a social business that provides income generation for women in vulnerable communities in Cambodia, and has since grown to become an all-female, locally managed jewellery design and production studio that now exports its products to Europe, North America and Australia.  Women from low-income and vulnerable communities in the Phnom Penh area are provided with an income matched to the local living wages, as well as health insurance and a safe workplace.  Not only that, but they’re also educated and equipped with skills in financial literacy and personal development.  They’ve even got a savings and loan group going on inside Khmer Creations.  Some are single moms, and Khmer Creations even has a day-care to make sure that the cutest bubs are taken care of. Penh Lane came around shortly after as a trading company that not only works with Khmer Creations, but also four other Cambodian social businesses to design, wholesale and retail jewellery and other accessories to markets around the world.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been taking editorial shots for Penh Lane, featuring models of my choosing. I picked my lady lifting buddies from Crossfit Amatak because they are a joy to work out with.  Rebekah has an infectious smile even during the toughest of workouts, Julia is always amazing conversation in between the burpees and Lyda can lift a mighty mass and look fabulous at the same time.  I knew they’d look great in Khmer Creations’ goodies.

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Upper: Angkor Earrings, Lower: DeVine Recycled Timber Necklace (left) and Cotton Bead Earrings (right). All by Khmer Creations.

I also got to shoot a couple of the gorgeous ladies that work at Khmer Creations Jewellery Studio.  Which was just so much fun and a big lesson in directing a shoot with my could-definitely-be-better Khmer language skills and with Samnang as my translator.

So I’m beyond thankful to Khmer Creations and Penh Lane for supporting me and my growing skills.  I can’t wait to work with you guys again!

Find Penh Lane and Khmer Creations products online and at local stockists!  If you’re in Phnom Penh, you can find the goodies at Lot369, Teahouse Asian Urban Hotel, the Watthan Artisans shop on Street 240 and at Aeon Mall!

A big huge thanks to Farm to Table for letting me run around your beautiful green space!


All photos by Tiffany Tsang for Khmer Creations. Please request permission to use. We are not liable for any accessories shopping binges.


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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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T / happy monday / where does your sweater come from?

Photo Credit: Everlane

Photo Credit: Everlane

There’s the post I wanted to do today (which answers a question I frequently get), and then there’s the post that I had time to do today.  But I promise, this one’s a goodie too.  I’ve been OBSESSED with Everlane’s Snapchat channel (@everlane) ever since Jane introduced me to the app and suggested I follow them.  I get excited about their #transparencytuesdays and all the behind the scenes stuff that happens behind this brand that Cait and I just love.  Then I discovered their Youtube channel, and my pride for this sustainable fashion brand has jumped through the roof.  We live in Cambodia, where worker’s rights and garment factory conditions are only starting to get recognized through projects like Better Factories and helped by locally lead movements by a select few fashion brands.  So these details matter to us.

China is often synonymous with unethical manufacturing practices and poor quality products that feed the #fastfashion trend.  But change is coming.  And Everlane has been one of the first brands to lead the charge with their mission of #radicaltransparency.  This has meant opening up all of their factories for public assessment as part of their #knowyourfactories campaign.  This includes the ones in China.

So when I stumbled upon this series of videos showcasing their production standards in China, I was plussed.  I also got to learn a new word: handfeel!  Now watch it go on repeat over the next month (#sorrynotsorry).

 


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C / pretty, not evil

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One of the cool things about job hunting in the fashion world is finding out about companies that are doing great things in the space. Happily, I am not the first person in the world to think sustainable fashion is important, and there are a lot of people working to bring good design and good practices together.

When I talk about wanting to work in sustainable fashion, I have received mostly positive feedback, but every once in a while, someone will respond with a slightly different tune. “Fine, you think fast fashion is evil? All fashion is evil. Where should I shop then?” Well, to the snarky British man, 6 beers in on a Tuesday and wearing a Trump tie, here you go.

I am pulling from one of the companies that I have spent so much time drooling over today to show five things that you can buy that are not only great design, but have the added bonus of being not evil. I have an aversion to buying things that look like I feel sorry for someone. I want to fill my closet with things that are made ethically, don’t destroy the planet, and look great. Today, I’m looking at Zady. The company provides clothing for all, accessories, and even some really cool stuff for your home and they only work with companies that keep the same high standards as they do. I love that the site is full of things that are simple and well designed, and will take you through seasons and years without falling apart or going out of style.

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here

Bag-Mattandnat

here

sunnies

here

man-sweater

here

SNEAKS

 

 

here

All product photos via Zady, header is the product of this cool tie dye kit.

caitsig


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C / Studio 189

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I get excited when I see people doing interesting, beautiful things that are good for the world. Studio 189 is a relatively young fashion company that is doing just that. They make unique and modern pieces by using sustainable and ethical practices and I am eager to crowd my closet with them. Studio 189 is demonstrating how to make high fashion in a smart way. It helps that they have Rosario Dawson, a quick and talented actress with a strong eye for fashion, and Abrima Erwiah, Dawson’s childhood friend who comes to the game with an already-strong career in fashion at Bottega Venetta. These two women and their team seem to really understand the value of the work that they can do.

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In a 15 second clip, Dawson sums up the exact way I feel about fashion. In case you don’t have 15 seconds, or your internet can’t stream video (I feel you, Laura in Myanmar) this is what she says:

“The pieces that we are selling are not super expensive, but neither are they really cheap, you because the idea is that this will actually support the person that made this. You should know that this beautiful thing that you are buying recognizes the value of the person that makes it.

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I see so much value in bringing ethical fashion into the mainstream market. After learning about how companies like Tonlé and Dsenyo operate, I am convinced that it is entirely unnecessary to be evil in order to make beautiful things. I do believe that it is important to have a platform and access to a wide market to get anything done, and I think Studio 189 has that. They have figured out how to be high-fashion and relevant, while still keeping ethical practices and using sustainable resources.

“To use Fashion as an agent for Social Change, turning challenges on the ground into opportunities.”                   Studio 189 Misson Statement 

They are able to create well-paying jobs for women and are starting to provide micro loans for their workers as well. By partnering with UN Women, OAfrica, and UN International Trade Centre, they are measuring impact and making sure working conditions are safe and supportive. They also play well with others and are collaborating with a number of African designers, including Lulu, a Ugandan who studied in Tokyo, who makes these insanely beautiful kimonos with local textiles. I want all of them.

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People are noticing, too. Studio 189 has a ton of press, and a number of famous pretty friends are also pumping up the company. I like that starting an ethical fashion line is now very…fashionable. It’s so much better than the old celebrity trend of falling down outside of LA nightclubs.

So kudos to you awesome women at Studio 189, you are making something special and beautiful and kind, and I can’t wait to see what else you do.

All photos via Studio 189

caitsig