STYLE CHECK: Empowering artisans through the ABC Lions of Fashion runway

 From the breathtaking scenery and the warmth of the locals, Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh is definitely a must-visit for anyone wanting to get a good glimpse of what Southeast Asia has to offer. Aside from the Cambodians’ cool, calm and collected nature, there’s so much more we can learn from them – particularly in fashion. Phnom Penh serves as the creative home for many budding artisans and dare we say, the next big names in fashion. 

With an abundance of skill and talent, the Cambodian fabric and garment industry can definitely be propelled into greater heights. With this, ABC Extra Stout, the # 1 Stout in Cambodia brought the first-of-its kind designer and model search in the kingdom. It all started with a purpose – to open doors for opportunities. Essentially, one that would uplift both the fashion and garment industry by bringing together the community in all of Cambodia. ABC Lions of Fashion was brought to life. 

The biggest inspiration for ABC Lions of Fashion is to bring prestige and sophistication to the industry. We want to be a brand that stands for empowering our local artisans,”  says Golda Gomez, ABC Extra Stout’s brand manager.

To make this dream come true, they have partnered with some of the giants in the fashion and garment industry. Among these organizations are the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), Cambodia Garment Training Institute, Sovrin Magazine and Arise Agency. Throughout the duration of the competition, both the models and designers were given the chance to receive several trainings and workshops from mentors : Fashion Design Consultant Sarah Marcni, Arise Agency’s Operations Director Men Nimulroat and Creative Photographer Jack Malipan. 

The competition was tough with 1, 318 models and 127 designers aspiring to be the next big names in Cambodian fashion. Leading up to the finals, only 10 contenders for each of the categories were left vying for the much coveted titles.  The glamorous gala night held took place on the 5th of December at the Koh Pitch City Hall. Distinguished audiences and thought leaders in fashion witnessed the innovative designs as created and modelled by the contestants. The runway was graced by several established international and local designers in Cambodia, namely : Reynier Abello, Don Protasio, Marya Na and Natacha Van. The first-ever Jimmy Choo protege, Illiza Ho, was also present. Indeed, ABC Lions of Fashion lived up to its dream of bringing together the biggest names in fashion. 

For the models category, Ms Leang Sivley bagged the Peoples’ choice award. Ms. Lev Socheata came in 2nd runner up followed by Ms. Meas Chanrou as first runner up. The champion was Ms. Leap Sreypov. For the designers category, Ms. Kong Sothea was awarded 2nd runner up followed by Ms. Sok Panha. Mr. Pov Sithan was awarded as the champion. Aside from trophies and special prizes, the winning model and designer also received a $3,000 all expense-paid trip to attend the Paris Fashion Week and a six-page spread each in Sovrin Magazine. 

The first ever season of ABC Lions of Fashion has just commenced and it can only go uphill from here. There is definitely a lot more to look forward to in the year to come. ABC Lions of Fashion is the brainchild of ABC Extra Stout, the #1 Stout in Cambodia, owned by the Heineken Company. 

Fashion outside the Philippines, no matter how simple or complex, is something that I find interesting. I may only have heard about this from ABC Lions of Fashion’s shared information but the photos itself show intricate designs – even one with a drawing of a butt (tee-hee!), that may not usually be seen on the streets of Manila. It’s something that we can take inspiration from (but not directly copy because you know how much we hate copycats) to take our personal styles to a whole new level. <3

Know any other interesting fashion show that we should check out? Preferably within Asia ‘cos America’s runways are already all over magazines and the Internet. Just let us know by getting in touch with Manila Millennial via FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!

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