Their collection would range from a dress inspired by the plume of a peacock and fashioned out of bottle caps and cement sacks, to a black and orange tiger outfit made of plastic bags. Violent attacks on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are common in the conservative Southeast Asian nation, even though attitudes towards same-sex relationships have improved in recent years. “Just five or 10 years ago, Cambodians saw the LGBT community as social trash,” said Ith Sovannareach, founder of La Chhouk Recycled & Creative Fashion. “People saw them as unnatural strangers. “But now there is less discrimination, as we’ve seen more coverage on television and in newspapers about their capabilities.” By making catwalk-ready outfits from waste scooped off the streets of the Cambodian capital, the 24-year-old Sovannareach is now subverting that stereotype, along with a team of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender designers. Cardboard, cans, plastic bags – even a toilet roll – have all found their way into the designs of the group from Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts. “We use everything, but cement sacks and plastic are best,” said Sovannareach. Many of the costumes, and their accompanying flamboyant headgear, take inspiration from traditional… Read full this story
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