Fashion From The Heart – Our Interview with Designer Theary Sim of YouTheary Khmer
by Nikeya Young
Theary Sim is a Plus Model, and the Designer/Founder of her signature hit clothing line, “YouTheary Khmer”. The 25 year-old Cambodian beauty has made quite a name for herself in the Atlanta fashion scene with her hip new line! Hope you enjoy getting to know Theary Sim.
NY: So you are a plus size model and a fashion designer; how long have you had a passion for fashion?
TS: I’ve had a passion for fashion ever since I could draw and paint, which was about 7 years old.
Even when I was younger, I was heavier than the average child so I knew that having the most fashionable clothes was out of my reach so I started making my own clothes when I was 14. That’s when I knew I was going to have a career in fashion.
NY: What inspired you to launch your own clothing line at such a young age? How supportive have your family members/friends/community been, of your line?
TS: I went to school for fashion design in Atlanta, GA. During my tenure I styled for many music artist for awards, performances and music videos. I noticed that I was having a difficult time pulling unique looks that the celebrities wanted, so I just learned how to sew the designs myself. Music is still a big inspiration in my collections.
My family and friends have been very supportive of my career. They knew, when I was very young, I’d be the one to venture off and do my own thing. My father was a huge inspiration and support in my life. After he passed, I knew that I had to follow my dreams, because life was too short. I’ve been overwhelmed by the acknowledgment I’ve received within my Cambodian community, for both my standard and plus line. I’m 25 years old and I have a lot of learning and growing too do. It can only get better from here!
NY: Has it been difficult to balance a successful modeling career and clothing line?
TS: It hasn’t been that difficult to balance modeling and my clothing line, but it does have a give and take factor. I love modeling and I plan to continue, however I have been focusing on my clothing line and I haven’t been able to attend as many castings or travel for bookings. I guess it comes down to time management.
NY: Sorry to hear about the loss of your dad; I’m sure he’s VERY proud of all that you’ve accomplished. What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment in terms of modeling and your clothing line?
TS: Thank you, I know he would be proud of his little girl. I would say my biggest accomplishment with plus modeling would be paying it forward by speaking at panels to aspiring plus models who want advice to get into the modeling industry. That let’s me know, I did something right. LOL My biggest accomplishment with my clothing line is launching my REAL collection. It felt so great creating a plus collection verses standard only. I can finally be a walking billboard.
NY: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
TS: In 10 years, I see myself more on the creative directorial side of the modeling industry. I want to provide an outlet where plus models can have the opportunity to learn and work with the best in the business. I don’t want a modeling agency, simply a place where talented individuals come together to create amazing projects.
I see my clothing line becoming a household name; everyone will be talking about Youtheary Khmer at the kitchen table. In 10 years I will have opened my 100th store.
NY: Your clothes are eclectic & chic! What inspires you to create such unique masterpieces?
TS: I feel that I have gone through every curvy girl’s life story. Wanting to be fashionable, but limited to the clothing selection. I’m 25 years old and I still think that most plus size clothing is for the fashion forward retired woman. I work very hard to create pieces that are interchangeable and unique. Fit is as important as design. However, I want someone to feel that my clothes was originally designed for the curvier woman not just a knockoff version of a standard size garment. I get a lot of my inspiration from my culture and background. Being Asian American I have been around lots of traditions. When it comes to clothing in Cambodia, it is very intricate, colorful and detailed. In my culture every piece has a history and a meaning. I use the inspiration of my heritage every time I create my collection.
NY: AWESOME! So where can we, curvy “fashionistas” purchase your clothing?
TS: They can go to my website www.youthearykhmer.com, everything is custom made to the “fashionistas” body. She sends us her measurements, and we send her a specially made piece just for her.
NY: I also want to mention, you are up for a designer award during Atlanta Fashion Week. Where can we vote for you?
TS: Yes, I’m really excited to be nominated for upcoming designer of the year at the 2010 Atlanta Fashion Awards.
NY: Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring plus models and designers?
TS: To all aspiring models, understand your personal market and pursue what will work for you. This is a tough market, if one thing doesn’t work out, smile and go to the next. To my aspiring designers, educate yourself. You can never learn too much about fashion. Believe in your craft, work on it everyday, and you will be successful.
NY: It has TRULY been a pleasure speaking with you! We do wish you the best of luck at the Atlanta Fashion Week Awards and with all of your endeavors!
TS: Thank you so much for this opportunity with PLUS Model Magazine and for your continuous support. You can Follow me on Instagram @youthearykhmer