“Utopia lies at the horizon.
When I draw nearer by two steps,
it retreats two steps.
If I proceed ten steps forward, it
swiftly slips ten steps ahead.
No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.
What, then, is the purpose of utopia?
It is to cause us to advance.” - Eduardo Galeano
“Utopia lies at the horizon.
For this year Fashion Revolution Week we interviewed Mr Chamroeun the man behind our upcycled from tyre wallets.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Lav Chamroeun and I am 38 years old. I was born in KomPong Cham Province, Cambodia. I am the fourth in my family and I have two brothers and three sisters. When I was a child I suffered from Polio and my right hand was affected leaving me with a disability.
When did you start Smart Craft?
I have started in 2012. I have been working for few organisations and NGOs in the handicrafts sector, first as a volunteer and then as a production manager. After four years I gained the necessary skills to start Smart Craft, a small producers group.
What motivated you?
I have always wanted to help people with disabilities and vulnerable people in general to create their own future by producing good quality recycled products and that is why I have started Smart Craft.
What do you like about your job?
I like that I have the possibility to help and I love to research and design new products using raw materials. I love nature and especially the sea and upcycling it is a way for me to help reduce pollution and clean the environment.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope I can find more partners so that I can employ more artisans and by doing so supporting more families and their children.
We'd like to thank Mr Chamroeun for the time it took to do this interview and for the amazing work he does.
We have realised this short video to show you how our producers at Smart Crafts create beautiful wallets out of tyre.
Landfilling of tyres is a poor disposal solution as tyres are almost completely non-biodegradable due to the cross-linked rubber structure present.
So, why not upcycle them into something not just useful, but beautiful?
Here some ideas!
1) Garden Tables
5) Poufs & Stools
We’ve brewed up a brand new partnership - along with a fresh batch of beautiful artisanal wares - just for you.
On our last trip to Cambodia we had the good fortune of meeting Alan Flux, one of the co-founders of A.N.D ArtisanandDesigner (a Cambodian fair trade brand that blends elevated design with traditional textile processing practices). An English designer with a profound passion for fashion, he’s living his dream working with local producers to create stunning, one-of-a-kind handmade clothes, accessories and home décor. With the goal of revitalizing the local artisanal sector, which is currently under threat.
AND … there’s more. A.N.D. employs (and consequently empower) disadvantaged people, and only uses reclaimed fabric and wood that would otherwise be discarded.
Cambodia is currently one of the largest cheap labor garment manufacturing zones. More and more young Cambodians are resorting to working in factories where human rights - and certainly creativity and authenticity! – is too often overlooked. All so that big corporate brands can keep up with the insatiable demand that “fast fashion” creates.
We’re thrilled to be able to support A.N.D. in revitalising the local artisanal sector, which is currently under threat. And in preserving long-standing traditions and safeguarding a sliver of Cambodia’s beauty and authenticity. Join us in welcoming them to the Lost in Samsara family. And if you can, help us raise them up by sharing this article online and shopping their collection.