His business expanded tremendously after he moved to New York in 1999 and opened a design/production studio.
The “Vuthy” line of men’s casual shirts, shorts, and swimwear was carried in stores and catalogs in the United States and Europe.
With his knowledge of sewing, draping and pattern-making, Vuthy started literally as a “one man show,” and was able to closely supervise his staff as the studio and business grew in size. All clothes were cut and sewn in his own studio under his watchful eye to assure quality. His creations appeared in the Broadway shows Spamalot and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Vuthy later phased out his New York studio with plans to move production to his native Cambodia. A key goal was to provide good jobs with excellent pay and working conditions in a desperately poor nation where garment workers are routinely exploited. Vuthy ultimately decided manufacturing in Cambodia and exporting to the US would be too difficult for the moment. So, in 2010, he reached agreement to market his menswear line in cooperation with an old friend in the fashion business, Camilo Escobar of Miami-based Great Deals Distributions. It’s a natural partnership, pairing Vuthy’s design expertise with Great Deals’ marketing clout and experience distributing such men’s lines as Clever, Candyman, Pikante, and PPU. In 2013 he moved production to Maine, where he now lives near the coast and operates his design studio in the small city of Biddeford.
Biography of Mens Casual &
Sportwear Designer Vuthy Sim
Vuthy Sim is a Cambodian-American men’s fashion designer who arrived in the United States as a teenaged refugee in late summer of 1981 after fleeing his war-torn country.
Though he spoke virtually no English upon arrival -- and had no education the previous five years during the murderous Khmer Rouge occupation of Cambodia -- nine months after arriving he graduated from high school in Providence, RI and went on to attend Berea College in Kentucky.
For most of the 1980s and 1990s Vuthy lived in Washington, DC where he managed a men’s clothing store, then began designing and sewing men’s clothing on his own.
Vuthy is pictured here with his booth model James Davis at the semi-annual MAGIC show, a giant fashion showcase in Las Vegas. James later went on to fame as a contestant on the CBS program "The Amazing Race."
Vuthy maintains his design studio in the massive Pepperill Mill complex on the Saco River in Biddeford, Maine.
As Vuthy spent time in Cambodia exploring the practicalities of setting up operations he was increasingly troubled by the pervasive poverty, and especially its impact on children. He found himself trying to do his best as a private citizen, not affiliated with any organization. He spent time with orphans, built several wells at his own expense, and “adopted” several impoverished families in a remote and dusty village. He provided them with clothing, essential cooking supplies, and seed capital for several “micro enterprises” that are flourishing today. Vuthy continues to dream of producing in Cambodia, especially for the country’s domestic clothing market. For example, there’s a strong need for school uniforms -- white shirts plus blue shorts or pants for boys, and blue skirts for girls. Vuthy’s long range plans include a training center -- funded by profits from his business -- to teach practical sewing skills. Rather than prepare students for poorly-paid menial factory work, the aim would be to equip graduates to start their own businesses: designing, sewing, tailoring, dress making, alterations and repairs.
It’s not unusual to find Vuthy (in black shirt) in the midst of a happy throng of Cambodian children eating ice cream he buys for the entire crowd from a lucky bicycle ice cream peddler who happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Some graduates may qualify for jobs in Vuthy’s studio, while others can return to their own villages to earn a decent living with their new skills.
Vuthy hopes to intertwine his two passions -- fashion and his charitable work in Cambodia -- by creating a program or foundation to raise funds and oversee projects. Even the simple donation of a school uniform or a pair of flip-fops can make the difference in whether a poor Cambodian child makes it to school and gets an education, the absolute foundation for rising out of poverty and building a meaningful and dignified life of hope and opportunity.
Vuthy invites anyone wishing to become involved, whether in Cambodia, the United States, or anywhere else in the world, to contact him directly at email@example.com.