The rise of social entrepreneurship is arriving strong in Cambodia, with a lot of great examples of social enterprises and shops providing high quality and trendy products made by underprivileged communities and supporting various social empowerment projects. And having Cambodia such a great culture of weaving, exquisite fabrics like silk and iconic items such as the krama (the traditional Khmer scarf), of course this trend will reach as well fashion and accessories industry. While passing through Phnom Penh, have a look on some of these ideas of places to do your shopping while supporting the development of this beautiful country!
Cambodia Creations, a fashion boutique right on the center of the city with a focus on fair trade and ethical products, a collaboration between Cambodia Knits, Khmer Creations and Fairweave. For knitted toys and accessories you can have a look on Cambodia Knits, for jewelry and handicrafts you can check the products of Khmer Creations, and for hand-woven and natural-dye silk products don’t miss Fairweave.
Friends’n’stuff, a social business owned by our great NGO partner Friends-International which have, among others, projects with street kids and against child exploitation. Their shop sells any kind of accessories, crafts, clothes, jewellery, bags, stuff made with recyclable materials and much more… everything at cheap prices and, of course, providing you the chance to help local underprivileged communities while shopping!
Also with an ecological ethics, explore SMATERIA, a trendy social enterprise selling bags and accessories and with an emphasis on up-cycled and re-purposed materials. Also with ecological products, including recyclable materials and found war objects transformed into jewelry or other accessories, Craftworks Cambodia is a great example of what this social entrepreneurship wave is bringing to the country.
Other social enterprise to pay attention is Sonas World, with projects such as the Weaving Village, with its beautiful scarves and other items made with Cambodian silk, besides Daikh selling super foods, coconut oil, teas, skin products and other healthy items, and an initiative of sustainable farming called Grow It Yourself.
Back to clothes and accessories, have a look on Fairsew which, with its motto of positive fashion, it’s a social enterprise with design and sewing services that treats its workers with the dignity they deserve (in opposition to the typically exploitive Cambodian garment industry). For high class scarves and other accessories, some of them inspired by the traditional krama from Cambodia, have a glimpse on what Soieries du Mekong is doing. And if it’s shoes is what you are looking for, discover the cool products Amboh has.
Hope this list got you some ideas of what to shop before you leave Cambodia in case you are interested in trendy products that also have an ethical approach to the local community. Also, in case you are passing through Siem Reap, have a look on this article on our Camboticket blog to have some ideas of where to go shop while there. Enjoy your trip with impact!