Join the Fight to Save Cambodian Silk
Silk weaving forms a strong part of Cambodia’s rich history, with its roots stretching back to the 12 th century.
Evidence of this can be found in the carvings of women wearing traditional silk outfits etched into the walls of Angkor Wat.
In particular, the country was famous for its golden silk, a refined thread produced by the yellow silkworm.
However, the ancient art has been in decline in recent years, due to the availability of cheap imported fabrics and the rise in global appetite for fast fashion.
“Silk weaving is an important part of Cambodia’s culture and heritage. It is a process that needs to be kept alive and passed onto future generations,” says Vannary San, who has taken on the task of breathing new life into the dwindling trade.
Today, as the latest step in her mission to revive the tradition, Vannary is calling on kind-hearted donors to help bring The Silk House to life.
What is The Silk House?
The Silk House is an interactive, educational museum dedicated to showcasing Cambodia’s silk weaving history and the silk weaving process, from silkworm through to the final products.
Based on the outskirts of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, the museum is spread across two floors.
The spacious covered outdoor showroom on the ground floor will feature information boards guiding visitors through the process, with the mulberry trees that feed the silkworms lining the space.
Guests can see the silkworms fattening up on the leaves, the threads being spun and weavers working handmade looms.
An 8 metre by 16 metre meeting room will also be situated on the ground floor and available for hire for private functions and gatherings.
A modern open plan space, coffee shop and store showcasing the diversity of products silk can produce will sit on the first floor.
Entry to the museum will be free, with the option to try hand dyeing silk scarves for an additional cost (US$20/30).
The Silk House’s ultimate aim is to work with local schools and universities to give the country’s next generation an understanding of the importance of preserving this unique part of their heritage.
The Silk House works with 22 communities and producers, totalling more than 220 people, across Cambodia to support their livelihoods. They produce a range of ethical products including banana fabric, golden silk, jewellery, scarves, accessories, fashion apparel and home decor.
It also serves as an attractive addition to Phnom Penh’s tourist map, conveniently situated on the way to The Killing Fields.
Why should I donate?
While rekindling Cambodia’s silk weaving flame, there is also a strong social message behind Vannary’s venture.
For more than a decade, the social entrepreneur and designer has been working hard to elevate the lives of underprivileged communities across the country by advocating fair fashion.
Under her Lotus Silk line, she works with rural dyeing, weaving and farming communities, training them up to high standards and offering fair wages.
She then creates fabulous eco-friendly fashion that is sold across the globe.
This in turn, provides these communities with a sustainable form of income while keeping age-old traditions alive.
By supporting The Silk House, you’re helping to spread Vannary’s message, create a future for the industry and contribute towards ensuring a precious part of Cambodia’s history survives into the future.
Where will my money go?
Vannary has already invested a substantial sum of her own savings into the project and needs a helping hand to take her across the finishing line.
The $20,000 will go towards paying the three weavers’ wages during the first three months.
It will also be used to equip and install items in the silkworm room. It is hoped The Silk House will launch for a soft opening in July.
Wirral, North West England, United Kingdom