A day spent shopping Phnom Penh’s fair trade shops and markets
Wow. Phnom Penh has some incredible artisans and seamstresses. The clothing and shops are unreal. I highly recommend shopping in Phnom Penh.
After only two and a half months backpacking I am ready to get rid of my wardrobe and replace everything. By the way, when I say wardrobe, I mean the pile of wrinkly, ragged, and stinky clothes I have been lugging around for the past few months.
Arriving in Phnom Penh I had been told Cambodia has incredible designers. It turns out, they were right. These women work long hours producing some of the worlds best clothing. Indeed, they rival those in Vietnam and Thailand!
Below is my recommended stores in Phnom Penh.
Hit up the Markets:
First and foremost, there are four major markets to shop at in Phnom Penh. Oftentimes, these are priced better than shopping in stores. You can also have clothing tailored in the markets and honestly, the clothes are fantastic. Prices at the markets range from $1 +++.
The Russian Markets: full of designer clothes, dresses, shoes, and backpacks. I guarantee you can find anything you need here if you wander down the narrow alleys between stalls.
Orussey Market and Boueng Keng Kang Market: Both of these are very similar. They offer a more local experience because most westerners go to the Russian Market. You can find a food market, food stalls, vintage clothing, bags, and all sorts of nick nacks.
Central Market (called so because of its location): this massive Bazaar is great to look at from the outside. It has really interesting architecture, but the shopping isn’t so good. Inside you’ll find mainly food, a fish market, and some shopping.
Shopping on Street 240: Fair Trade Artisans and Seamstresses
This is where all the fun begins! If you are looking for handmade artisan clothing. Cambodian women who work for these shops are paid a decent wage. And most stores are fair trade using recycled materials and offer unique styles.
I walked from store to store and couldn’t stop gawking at how lovely everything was. Luckily enough, I didn’t bring enough cash or I would have bought the whole street.
Elsewhere: more high-end clothing. Excellent materials and clothes styled for work, fancy night life. Prices: $20-40
The 240: My favorite store on the whole street! It was artsy and super chic, with small handicrafts and textiles. Different artisans displayed their items, from purses, to artwork, postcards, blankets, and scarves. Prices $25ish
AND: Unique style, again all fair trade, lovely staff work here. The materials used for clothing and textiles were made using reclaimed and up cycled materials. I loved the fashion. Prices $25-65
Watthan Artisans Cambodia: Fair trade store with unbelievable textiles. Massive store with scarves, blankets, and quality dresses. Prices $40-60
Lotus Silk: One of the few places I saw that made me love the jewelry and earrings. Also great dresses using up cycled fabrics. Outside the store there is a picture of the girls who made your clothes (really nice) and they offer free tailoring if needed.
Needless to say, Cambodia has talent. I had a blast exploring all the tiny markets covering 240 street and walking through the alleys of the markets.
If you are thinking about buying clothes at pop-up cheap shops around Asia, think again. Wait and spend your money at Phnom Penh’s clothing shops, the quality is fabulous and you won’t be disappointed.
Cheers, happy shopping. 🙂
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