Fashionista Remy Hou is leaving his imprint on Khmer martial arts.
Born in Cambodia, Hou left in the early 90s for Los Angeles, California, USA, and after making a name for himself in the fashion industry and Hollywood, he returned to “The Kingdom Of Wonder” to give back to his native country.
He has now become an apparel icon that spans the borders of Cambodia, and lately, he has chosen to support the local martial arts scene with his eye for fashion.
“I want to support the fighters because they’re doing something that has an impact on an international level,” he says.
For the last couple of months, Hou and his team have been dressing up some of Cambodia’s top athletes in a fashionable way. They have put their unique touch on ONE Championship athletes like Chan Rothana, Rin Saroth, Sok Thy, and Meas Meul.
Remy Hou brings a new perspective
Despite being from different industries, the fashion designer can relate to the personal stories of many of Cambodia’s martial artists and the struggles they have experienced.
“The fighters themselves, they come from a very humble background. They come from hardship, but they’re determined. That’s something that I’ve gone through myself,” Hou explains.
“[My family] made it through the war. We lost everything, and my mom had to do whatever she could to survive and give us an opportunity.
“For me to be able to give back, I feel that I’m paying it forward.”
Hou’s collaboration with the martial arts world has brought an interesting perspective to both the competitors themselves and their fans.
He says the feedback has been very positive because fans can see their beloved athletes in a new light — something the fashion designer feels is necessary as Cambodia begins to make a name for themselves on the big stages of the world.
“I think it adds a different value to their work, their professionalism. It’s on to another level,” he says. “What I’m trying to do is to give them a different reach that normally the fans don’t see.”
The power of image
With decades in the fashion industry, Hou understands the power of one’s image and wants to help Cambodia’s athletes to show a different side of themselves.
He believes there is a powerful message in showing Cambodia their favorite martial artists as not only warriors, but also as gentlemen.
“The people that follow the fighters, they understand the art already,” he says.
“But the people that don’t, when they can see [the fighters] as gentlemen — someone dressed up and clean cut — it brings out a different side to them. I think I’m doing my part as a designer to support them.”
Ultimately, the fashionista sees something in the local martial artists that resonates with him, and he urges more people in Cambodia to support in any way they can.
“We’re all fighting for the same team,” he continues.
“We’re all walking the same path, and we’re all going towards the same dream. We all have the same goal in life — we want to find happiness for ourselves and for our family.”