Cambodia is earnestly cementing its foothold as a rising fashion hub in Southeast Asia. This is not surprising as the country is well-known for its high-quality fabrics and garment production, the second biggest contributor to the national economy providing bread-and-butter to more than half a million locals.
ABC Extra Stout, a brand under Heineken Asia Pacific and currently the most popular stout (a form of beer) in Cambodia, aims to back this burgeoning creative industry by staging a fashion contest and event that sets a new trend not just in the capital of Phnom Penh but also across the region. The company launched in May 2019 its search for ABC Lions of Fashion with the novel goal to revel excellence and support, recognize, and inspire uprising fashion designers and models in the region.
With the goal of introducing fresh blood in fashion designing and modeling—touted as the next-in-line ‘lions of fashion’—in Cambodia and across the region, ABC Lions of Fashion mounted a successful culminating event on December 5, 2019.
The ABC Lions of Fashion showcased 10 shortlisted young designers (out of 127) who participated in various design challenges. Their designs were featured in the pages of a local fashion magazine. Winners bagged hefty cash prizes as a form of support for them to start their very own fashion line. The overall winner also received an all-expense-paid trip to an upcoming international Fashion Week, plus an exclusive feature in a local fashion magazine.
At the same time, the contest opened the doors to 10 shortlisted aspiring models (out of 1,318 models), who also participated in the fashion challenges throughout the contest duration. The top winner received a modeling contract with a local fashion modeling agency and the privilege to grace the front cover of a local fashion magazine.
“The biggest inspiration for ABC Lions of Fashion is to bring prestige and sophistication to the industry,” said ABC Extra Stout brand manager Golda Gomez, a proud Filipina. “We want to be a brand that stands for empowering our local artisans.”
ABC Extra Stout teamed up with a number of major players in the Cambodian fashion and garment industry, including the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), Sovrin Magazine, Arise Agency, and the Cambodia Garment Training Institute. The event also brought together several fashion icons from across the region—among them Natacha Van, Marya Na, and Phnom Penh-based Filipino designers Reynier Abello (from Cebu) and Don Protasio.