The fabrics featured in our products are designed by Aboriginal artists and hand-printed in Australia and then made into products in Australia and overseas by our outstanding partners.
Cambodia is home to our most of our international manufacturing partners. We primarily work with social enterprises based in Phnom Penh including Kravan House (photo from their workshop above), A.N.D. artisandesigner, and Villageworks who make our bags and purses. Each of these trains, employs and/or contracts artisans living in urban and rural situations.
Operating for more than 16 years from a shopfront in Riverside Kravan House was one of Cambodia’s first social enterprises after war and instability left the country with limited infrastructure and few manufacturers. Established by Mrs Thanan Hok in 2003 Kravan House provides training and employment opportunities to women and men people who are disabled due to landmines, polio and other physical challenges. Ms Hok is also disabled and was strongly motivated to overcome the stigma to create a thriving business that would support people with disabilities. Some of her team have been with her since the very early days and she has also trained and mentored many more.
Founded in 2010 A.N.D. has become a fixture in Street 240, Phnom Penh. Their stores are full of clothing made from hand-woven cotton ikat, garment factory remnants, vintage and recycled fabrics, silk scarves, bags and purses, jewellery and some woodwork. Upstairs is a sewing workshop and a number of artisans work offsite. Their strength is combining fabrics and textures in gorgeous, textural and intriguing ways. Alan Flux, co-founder, has had a long career in couture and design in the UK including for films, illustration and teaching. In the last twenty years he has volunteered through the VSO program to work with and support artisans in India, Mongolia and Cambodia.
In Cambodia we also source some fabrics and products from Tabitha Foundation and work with individuals we have long-standing relationships with such as cushion maker Mrs Pichreay.
Australian production partners
We also work with Australian creatives/makers (see below) and are currently expanding our Australian partnerships.
Flying Fox Fabrics has other partners it collaborates with including Australian designer/maker Sue Catt. See her amazing pants in our Etsy store and she also has her own Etsy store Colors Australia here.
We are open to collaborations with any makers and are currently entering into partnerships with non-Indigenous Australian fabric designers. Everyone needs more ethical hand-made product and to support makers.
There are many disabled and disadvantaged people and with no social security there is no form of government support.
Cambodia has a history of exquisite textiles in the form of silk production and ikat weaving. Many artisans perished during the Khmer Rouge years and craft traditions were completely disrupted and some were almost lost. After years of disruption and war from 1970 – 1994 Cambodia finally began to experience a period of peace and relative stability so allowing people to regroup and small businesses to begin tentatively operating. Sadly many people had and continue to suffer injuries and physical disabilities as a result of war, disease, landmines and poor access to medical treatment.
After the cessation of conflict in the early 1990s it was possible for normal life to begin again and earning money through enterprise was seen as a way out of poverty. Social entrepreneurs such as Thanan Hok established their own businesses, she was the first in 1993. A number of international non-government-organisations (NGOs) and volunteers gave support to recovering craft traditions in danger of being lost and also the development of new skills and products that could create livelihoods for people suffering from disadvantage. They did this by setting up workshops and cooperatives such as Villageworks and Watthan. These were both later handed over to local people.
Fair trade is essential for a positive future for humanity. Exploitative commercial practices are part of an outdated paradigm that has not served the planet or its residents well. As Flying Fox Fabrics is very recently established we are not yet officially registered as a fair trade organisation, however, our founder has been pro-active in the fair trade movement in Australia since 1986 working with dozens of remote community Indigenous art centres. She is a social enterprise pioneer and wrote a book based on research findings called The Art & Craft Centre Story Volume III – Good Stories from Out Bush reporting on good practice published in 2000.
In relation to the Cambodian partners/manufacturers – the country does not have formal fair trade accreditation and the Artisans Association of Cambodia is no longer active. However, it is a relatively small sector and all the organisations are known to each other. Felicity has done due diligence on our partners and chosen them from dozens of small workshops active in Cambodia.