Designing from Dumpsters: Cambodians Start at Grassroots with Fashion

Author: Medvedev, Katalin

Source: Fashion Practice: The Journal of Design, Creative Process & the Fashion, 1 November 2010, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 223-248(26)


Buy & download fulltext article:

The full text article is temporarily unavailable.

We apologise for the inconvenience. Please try again later.


This article, based on field research carried out in Cambodia in 2008, outlines current government-backed and private channels of fashion production in the country. It also describes how fashion has been created and consumed in Cambodia in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In addition, it introduces a case study of an environmentally sound fashion design project with an impressive social agenda, the Home-based Production Project (HBPP), which was developed by Mith Samlanh (“friends” in Khmer), a local non-governmental organization to benefit marginalized segments of the Cambodian society, mostly homeless families who live and subsist in the streets of the capital, Phnom Penh. I describe the concept and operational practices of the HBPP and the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts in which it was set up. I demonstrate that despite the lack of formal education, the participant-designers’ artistic and aesthetic abilities as well as manual skills are remarkable, especially when one considers that they mostly create their designs from materials obtained directly from recycling of garbage. I suggest that the HBPP not only provides a promising alternative for existing hierarchical Western fashion design practices, but that it can be easily replicated in other developing countries as well, which makes it a significant phenomenon from a global perspective.

Keywords: Cambodia; Home-based Production Project; field research; non-governmental organization; social consciousness; sustainable design

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Email:

Publication date: November 1, 2010

Related content


Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content

Text size:

A | A | A | A
Share this item with others: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. print icon Print this page