Looking at young people on the streets of Phnom Penh, one can see that modern youth are fashion conscious with an eye for outfits that will set them apart in terms of style. Kong Cheanich, the young owner of the shop Zuperior by N&R, designs clothes that cater to the needs of this young generation.
“I like designing eye-catching styles and trying things people haven’t tried before. Most of my orders come people who are looking for something unique; there aren’t that many designers willing to work on this weird kind of stuff,” Mr Cheanich said.
Mr Cheanich starting learned sewing and the art of making clothes from the seamsters and seamstresses at Central Market after dropping out of school in Grade 9 as his family lacked money to pay for his education. He rented a house and shared it with three seamstresses. After spending two years learning his trade, he opened his shop.
Most of the 21-year-old’s customers are aged from 18 to 25, a very style-conscious demographic. They want their own look, particularly the women, though he does have a few regular male customers who come to him for suits.
Mr Cheanich added that he had some customers aged around 35 to 50. He said women always want to look young, so some come to his store and ask him to create something that will help them with that. He has seen a gradual increase in the number of customers in that age group.
“From July to October most young people are looking to buy something new and fashionable, so I need to design many different outfits during that period, like suits for men and short wear for women,” he said. From October to April he spends most of his time designing wedding outfits.
In the wedding season, Mr Cheanich takes three days to finish one outfit. This includes buying fabric, designing, cutting and sewing. He gets orders for around 60 outfits in a month, creating the designs and then handing the orders over to his sewing team. Sometimes the shop can get an outfit done in one day, as he has a large number of people on hand to sew.
“I never had the money to study at a famous school, but I was too passionate about it to give up, so I learned from the seamstresses and seamsters at Central Market. I learned how to sew from them, but when it comes to design, I came up with my own ideas. I really believe that thinking creatively allows people to achieve their dreams,” Mr Cheanich said.
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