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Cambodian factory eyes premium UK retailers

A small factory in Cambodia that trains and employs local women to make its own small clothing line plans to supply outerwear to premium brands and retailers in the UK.

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UK-based Leah Rodrigues founded Holi Studios in Siem Reap in 2014 after visiting the area with a charity and observing that, even when trained to sew, local women often had no choice but to work in the rice fields or a sweatshop. She now employs five women in the factory, while another is in training.

Her own brand, Holi, has just launched a second small collection of outerwear, comprising a double cotton trench coat, retailing at £499 retail, a double cotton or wool jacket (£369), curved pocket jacket (£369) and tailored blazer (£359), sold via its own website.

Rodrigues, who is managing director, is now working with a consultant to ensure the factory is compliant before approaching premium high street retailers in the UK and rest of Europe over the next couple of months about supplying them with own-label outerwear capsule collections.

She said it will target premium brands with stores, such as Karen Millen, rather than pure-play etailers, “because of the detail we have – it makes a difference when you can see it and try it on”.

She continued: “I want to tackle the idea that everything out of Cambodia has to be fast fashion. What we do is quite intricate, there is a lot of hand sewing. We will focus on capsule collections, doing small-order runs until the business grows.”

Holi does not currently wholesale, but Rodrigues said it might pursue this in the future. “That’s the direction we want to move into.”

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