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6 Fashion Trailblazers

Kebede’s new Lemlem scarves.

Photo: Lars Klove

Elizabeth Kiester: Boutique Owner

“This is a personal odyssey,” says Elizabeth Kiester, who gave up her high-powered job as the global creative director of LeSportsac to open Wanderlust, a shop on a dusty alley in Siem Reap, Cambodia, near Angkor Wat, with a sister store opening any day now in Phnom Penh. An avid traveler whose father was a Vietnam War correspondent, Kiester had always dreamed of living in Asia; a 2008 volunteer vacation in Cambodia sealed the deal. “Siem Reap was an ancient arts-and-culture capital, and that creative spirit is still here,” she explains. Kiester set out to create a fashion line that is democratic in its approach (one size that really fits all), affordable (nothing over $60), and universally appealing, with a Palm Beach–meets-Phuket look. By commissioning almost everything from Cambodian artisans, she has also been helping to revive artistic traditions: a severely handicapped woman weaves $2 bracelets from plastic bottles; kids from an orphanage tie-dye $6 T-shirts; and a local seamstress creates $8 Jackie O.–style head scarves. “I love a global design dialogue,” Kiester says. —Laura Begley

Kiester’s Cambodia

  • Hotel de la Paix Arts Lounge “The hotel’s massive gallery and hangout space features new collections every other month by upcoming Khmer and Asian artists. It’s the place to see and be seen, and has launched many a career.”
  • Angkor Wat Temples “Among the zillions of structures that make up the site, my favorites are Ta Prohm, which looks like it’s straight out of Land of the Lost, and Sarang, with its majestic lion statues.”
  • Angkor Beautiful Shoes “This Phnom Penh store and its other location, Angkor Making Shoes, in Siem Reap, will design custom sandals from a picture or copy ones you love, for $12 and up.”

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