You may not realize it, but a lot of clothes these days are made in Cambodia. Take a look at your clothing tags, and I’m sure you will find quite a few naming this South East Asian country. With all of those textile factories in such a small country, you are probably wondering what’s the deal? The perfect storm of some of the lowest wages and skilled garment laborers (along with lax environmental and labor law enforcement) make this an ideal location, but an ethical dilemma. Recent striking and unrest within the garment industry showcases the need for change.
Enter tonlé, a socially responsible and zero-waste fashion brand based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With experiences ranging from Fulbright research on fair trade textile production practices, to building socially conscious brand KeoK’jay, founder Rachel Faller has rebranded and refocused on scaling up to build and expand on her previous success.
We design and produce sustainable, wearable clothes that are as original and beautiful as the people who make them. We adhere to principles of transparency, fairness, and waste reduction in everything we do, from the big stuff like wages, down to the little things like the materials in our buttons. We’ve spent years crafting a zero-waste design process that incorporates leftover scraps of recycled materials into original looks.
With clothes made primarily from recycled materials using an innovative zero-waste design process that incorporates every scrap from production into original and innovative looks. They even make paper from any leftover scraps to close their production loop leaving no waste at all.
our entire production leaves 0% waste, as compared to a typical factory, which can average up to 40%
Community and teamwork are also a big focus at tonlé, part of their social responsibility promise. Fair wages and benefits in a clean, safe, and fun working environment, employees are given opportunities to grow and rise within the company- things we take for granted in the US.
Currently (as of October 2014), tonle is only available in Cambodia and through select international boutiques in Europe and Australia, but you can help change that. They are running a kickstarter campaign to achieve two goals: expand shipping to North America (that’s you too Canada!), and increase production and community impact with the opening of a new workshop. Visit tonlé’s Kickstarter Campaign to help them grow, then head over to tonledesign.com to do some shopping!