Imagine a world where clothing isn’t seen as disposable and where ethical production isn’t seen as charity. 

If you’ve been on the hunt for some quality basics that don’t cost the earth, people’s humanity or your back pocket and provide a level of transparency that is often unseen in the fashion industry, then Dorsu may just be it.

Dorsu believes that buying clothes that have been made fairly doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice design. All of the garments Dorsu sells are both designed and made in-house at their production studio in Kampot, Cambodia. They design, pattern make, sample, cut, sew, package and sell their products all under one roof. By doing this, it means that Dorsu is able to provide clothing that is not just of a high quality but is also made under fair working conditions – ie. the people who work there, want to be there.

It’s something so simple, but it becomes so common to see things advertised as ‘Designed in’ *insert your country here*, only for you to realise that they are more often than not made in unethical factories a lot further ashore. At least this is something I’ve started to become more aware of. In this simple way, Dorsu is challenging the conventional approach to today’s fashion industry – which is something I think is pretty damn epic.

On top of being ethically made, Dorsu doesn’t believe in mass production and mass consumerism which means that they produce only quality, timeless basics that you can mix, match and create a multitude of outfits with the same select pieces.

Dorsu highlights that garment manufacturing is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet and as a result their products are made with remnant fabric. For those wondering remnant fabric is left over, unused or unwanted rolls of fabric that are still in its original condition.

They highlight on their website that “As a result of Cambodia’s pervasive garment manufacturing industry and issues that occur along the fashion industry’s incredibly complex supply chain, huge amounts of fabric are deemed unusable by brands on a daily basis. This waste occurs due to reasons such as incorrect or oversupply of fabric, last minute changes in production schedules and the ever-increasing need by brands to be immediately responsive and adaptive to fashion trends.”

They highlight that while using remnant fabrics have limitations such as not being able to trace its true origins, they are doing what they can within the context of which they work and choose to place their money where it has the greatest impact.

Ultimately, by using remnant fabric it means that they work with limited amounts of fabric and colours, and as a result, all production runs are limited meaning that every Dorsu piece you purchase, is part of a unique limited amount.

Dorsu consistently amazes me with their transparency, which is no wonder that the incredible Megan and Gab from Walk. Sew. Good used them for their custom printed apparel.  On their website, they openly share their employment conditions so that you, as the consumer, know exactly what the staff are agreeing to when they choose to work for Dorsu. This is something I’ve only seen done at Dorsu, and it’s something I’d love to see highlighted more often.

For those wondering:

  • Employment: Permanent contracts reviewed annually and a 5-day working week.
  • Salary: Base wages that exceed the Cambodian-legal minimum, monthly performance-based bonuses and optional 6th day at overtime rates during busy periods.
  • Hours: 9-hour working day including 1-hour lunch and 2 x 15min breaks.
  • Leave: Annual leave accrued, main national public holidays, sick and personal leave, maternity and paternity.
  • Safety: Equipment, operations and fire safety policies strictly adhered to, on-the-job safety training and equipment maintenance.

Also! Dorsu recently did an epic three-part series on their website called ‘From the Floor Series’  which uncovers all aspects of their factory from design, to fabric and production to help you gain further insight into what they do behind the scenes at Dorsu which I think is pretty incredible and something I’d highly recommend reading.

I was lucky enough to have one of the co-founders of Dorsu, Hanna Guy, answer my questions about why Dorsu exists in the first place, alongside some of the challenges involved in creating an ethical brand in the first place so stay tuned for that one.

In the meantime, you can check out Dorsu and grab your own ethically made piece over on their website here. Or you can follow along on their journey on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

*This post is in collaboration with Dorsu