Cambodia is a beautiful country, with incredible sights, and a rich culture. Unfortunately, Cambodia and its people have faced horrible injustice and violence.
For years, the country was subject to a civil war, which ultimately resulted in an oppressive regime, and a genocide of the Cambodian people, resulting in an estimated 1.5 to 3 million deaths reported - and Cambodian people say even more (University of Minnesota).
While the reign of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot did not last long, they contributed to decades of violence, and the damage inflicted on the people, and the land can still be felt.
During a visit to Cambodia in 2015, Cassandra Ciarallo, the founder of Chic Made Consciously, immediately fell in love with the beautiful scenery, and generous people. During her visit being immersed in the culture, Cassandra learned about the history of war and violence, visiting the Killing fields and war museums and educating herself very deeply on the terrible genocide that occurred.
Cassandra, also very passionate about craftsmanship and artistry, learned that many of these workers in Cambodia are not the ones who get to benefit financially. In 2014, garment workers held protests to increase their wages from a mere $80 U.S. dollars per month (Fashion Revolution). While the protests were effective in securing higher wages, the estimated monthly wage is still only $153 U.S. dollars per month, which is still insufficient for living costs.
A couple years after Chic Made Consciously was born, Cassandra was inspired to reconnect with Cambodian culture and wanted to help the communities there. She decided to expand from only working with artisans in Bali to partnering with Craftworks Cambodia, an organization committed to creating jobs, paying fair wages to its artisans, all while working with recycled war remnants.
This organization provides vocational training for artisans based from home, giving them the tools to create work for themselves, while being fairly compensated.
In 2018, Cassandra launched her in partnership with the artisans from Craftworks Cambodia. She had the fortunate opportunity to meet Mr. Chenla in person, to design a special collection of pieces, exclusively for Chic Made Consciously.
When wearing these pieces, it goes so much deeper than just wearing a pretty necklace or bracelet. These pieces show a story of resiliency for the Cambodian people, and tell the story of beauty and power in the transformation of love over hate.
To shop any of our reclaimed brass pieces, click below! And, let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.