Cambodian designers turning trash and recyclables into high fashion want to make people rethink their wasteful ways

Members of the recycling collective La Chhouk started with a dress made from brown rice sacks decorated with beer bottle tops and broken CDs which was later worn by a Miss Cambodia runner-up at an international beauty pageant.

Most visitors to Cambodia are eager to see the ancient temple complex of Angkor or the beaches of Sihanoukville, but there is one sight they may want to shield their eyes from: mountains of plastic bags, bottles and styrofoam boxes.

Despite remaining on the World Bank’s list of “least developed countries”, Cambodia has enjoyed solid economic growth in recent decades. The Southeast Asian nation has sustained an average GDP growth rate of 7.6 per cent over the last 20 years, the sixth highest in the world. Plastic consumption, however, has also increased at an alarming rate.

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