We always look forward to the latest installment of Vice‘s Fashion Week Internationale, as the episodes are often as entertaining as they are educational. Needless to say, Vice’s latest trip to Cambodia’s first ever Fashion Week in Phnom Penh, proved no different.
Host Charlet Duboc headed to Cambodia for a comprehensive look at the third world country’s fashion industry–and their first-ever fashion week. The results are sometimes funny–like when Duboc learns the models were told to “look stoned” at one of the shows, or when an after party turns into one of the best/creepiest drag performances we’ve seen–and sometimes brutally hard to watch.
Cambodia is still one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia and is still recovering from Pol Pot devastating regime. And with a considerable portion of the population–most of them female–working in garment factories with unhygienic and inhumane conditions for six days a week at $2 a day, there’s obviously a sadder side to the country’s fashion industry.
Still, the episode (which is part one of three–the other two will drop tomorrow) paints a hopeful picture of the country’s growing wealth and industry. “We all know that Cambodia is one of the third world countries,” said one of the glamorous show-goers. “With this fashion week it means that they are moving forward not only in terms of the political situation or the economic situation but as well as fashion.”
Peng Chou, a former garment worker and union leader who recently led a protest against the factories’ working conditions, agrees. “The future can be better,” she told Duboc, “But if there’s no struggle, there’s no better future.