A Merry, Ethical Christmas

November 22, 2017

Dorsu | Ethical Christmas | Shopping


As we approach this joyful holiday season, we are taking the time to sit back, relax and consider how our gift buying may impact our world and its people.

We are all for Christmas and sharing gifts with our loved ones - but in the midst of global patterns of excessive shopping and over-consumption, it’s important to consider how much we need to participate and how much we can just let go. Do we really need to buy that gift for our work colleague just in case they buy us a gift? Do we really need to stuff Christmas stockings with not-so-needed things just because the ‘stocking filler’ shelf at the store had some bargains?

When we venture out shopping this season, we are going to ask ourselves these quick questions before we head to the checkout:

  1. Where was this product made, how, and what impact does it have?
  2. Is there accessible, transparent information about this brand and product available to consumers?
  3. Does buying this product have a negative effect on the world, either through it’s production or end-use?
  4. Does the person receiving this really need it- will they actually use it, appreciate it and look after it?
  5. Is there something else I can do instead- can I make it myself, can I buy this from an ethical brand, would they prefer tickets to a movie or a dinner out?

If you take a moment to think about these questions and you are confident your answer is 'yes' to purchasing, then that’s great, you are making a conscious, informed decision to buy a product that is useful to it’s receiver and (hopefully) has little or no impact on the world. If your answers lean towards a 'no' to purchasing, then you are making some pretty big steps to buying better this Christmas (and beyond)!

Here are a few of our favourite tips, collated to help out with buying better this Christmas AND all year round.

Get informed- research brands and products, reach out to them directly or search them on the internet. Use blogs, articles, brand rating guides and a company’s own website to gather your information. If you can’t find any information regarding a brand’s production practices and environmental impact, they most likely have something to hide.

Top tips: check out Good On You, Project Just, Ethical Fashion Forum and the Australian Ethical Fashion Guide as a start for an abundance of information and further resources.

Support independent, small and local producers- support new designers, buy one-off, locally made or artisanal products. When you buy from the person who has made it, you can see the direct impact your purchase has AND the designer/producer benefits directly from your purchase!

Opt for secondhand or vintage- sometimes you can find exactly what you’re after at a secondhand or vintage store. Purchasing something that already exists creates less demand for new products and uses what we already have. Pre-loved and used items have history and character (and often much cheaper!).

Buy an experience- experiences are memories, and memories can be the best gift of all. Spend time with your loved ones, do something adventurous and exhilarating, visit somewhere new, eat a delicious meal. These gifts last a lifetime.

Be creative- make something! Handmade gifts are thoughtful and unique and the receiver can see just how much time and effort you put into creating something especially for them!

Support a cause- support a safe and happy Christmas for all families- reach out to your community to discover programs supporting different local projects. Opt to spread those Christmas dollars and share the love with your community.

Say no to packaging! A paper-less Christmas is a cleaner (and cheaper!) experience. Gift wrap in reusable bags or go ‘nude’ and don’t wrap at all! The less we contribute to the Christmas day waste, the better.



Have a merry, safe and ethical Christmas!

Team Dorsu x


Our Design Process

We collaborate as an entire team, combining design and production priorities.

Our design and sourcing processes are inter-linked. Sometimes we design and then source fabrics we wish to produce in, and other times we discover fabric we love and can create accordingly, quickly.

Our Product

Meticulously designed for everyday wear, focusing on quality above all else. 


You inspire us - our #DorsuCrew! We love talking to you and learning about what you do, what you need, and how clothing fits into your life. Every day, we meet fellow travellers from around the globe, visiting us during their holidays in Kampot. They buy Dorsu for our quality; withstanding weeks or months of adventures. When they return home, they have their go-to essentials for work, weekends, and holidays.

We make our own rules and don't abide by trends, mass consumption or over-production. By investing our time and talent into thoughtful design, we create pieces that will be mainstays in your closet.

In-house Pattern Making

Our patterns are made in-house by our Co-Founder and Head of Production & Design, Kunthear. With years of experience and training, she opts for the traditional method of measuring and cutting paper to transform concepts into complete, graded patterns.

Dorsu Collections

Every 8 weeks, we release new collections consisting of 3-4 thoughtfully designed, intentional pieces to be worn with one another and across collections. We use limited edition fabrics, meaning each collection is small-batch, sitting perfectly alongside our year-round Core Collection. 

Our Production Process
Step 1: Cutting

The first step in the cutting process is washing the fabric, to test shrinkage and colour fastness. Our cutting team cut paper patterns from the originals, laying them on the material in a way that minimises wastage. Cutting up to 25 layers at a time, we bundle each piece according to size.

Step 2: Production room

The cut and bundled pieces are then moved into the production room and delegated along the production line. It’s fast and straightforward, ensuring we create consistent end-products.

Step 3: Initial quality control

The sewn products are washed and individually measured against their specifications, checking they’re true-to-size.

Step 4: Finishing & final quality control

The final step in production is ironing and the second check for shrinkage, warping, construction or fabric faults. The final garments are folded, packed and stored for sale. Some are moved directly into our studio store (located at the front of our production space), while others go to our flagship store in Kampot, or sent to Australia for international retail.


All production staff undergo extensive training and skills development to ensure safe, efficient and quality work by all team members. We train all new staff on our internal Human Resources policy, including occupational health & safety procedures, fire safety and evacuation, and child protection. We update and renew training annually, with ongoing instruction on equipment safety and maintenance, as well as the protocols to assess risk and responsibly address incidents in the workplace.

Fair and safe employment is the responsibility of all companies, and we prioritise the physical and emotional well-being of our employees above everything else.

Customer Service & Sales
In-Store Retail

We have two storefronts in Kampot, Cambodia - our Old Market Flagship Store and our Road 33 Production Studio Store. All team members take part in regular training on our new ranges, inclusive of design concept, fabric, fit and styling. 

Our Kampot based retail team manage the in-country delivery program, speaking directly with customers to facilitate the order and delivery process. 

Online Retail

We ship all online orders from our distribution space in Tasmania, Australia. Our online customer service team work against Australian EST, providing consistent and quality support to our international customers.

We welcome your feedback and are open to answering any questions you may have about sizing, construction, fabric, or our production practices. 

Wholesale & Custom Orders

We ship all bulk orders from our Road 33 Production Studio in Kampot, Cambodia. Most of the time, these are made-to-order. As a result of having a close-knit team, we can offer a seamless buying experience. Our sales staff speak to our Production Manager, face-to-face so that you can have the most accurate updates on the status of your order. 

Learn More About Factory Remnants

Our fabric is remnant cotton jersey sourced from independent suppliers in Phnom Penh.

Remnant fabric (also known as "deadstock" or "surplus") is unused and unwanted leftover rolls of cloth in its original condition.

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

These fabric leftovers are sold on from brands and factories to a local fabric supply industry, who then sell on through the Cambodian supply chain. We scour the warehouses of our preferred suppliers and purchase rolls of fabric per kilogram. When sourcing for our collections, we buy up to 100 kilograms of a collection colour (like burgundy) and up to 300 kilograms of a core colour (like black and navy).

Due to the nature of sourcing factory remnants, we can't guarantee consistency in the fabric blends. Consequently, we burn-test every fabric we buy to ensure it has very little or no synthetic fibres.

We pre-wash a sample of every new fabric, testing for colour fastness and shrinkage.

We know that using factory remnants has limitations. We know we can’t trace the true origins of our material. But, we are doing what we can, within the context in which we work. Cambodia doesn't have cotton mills or weaving facilities so, we are limited by access. As a small brand, we experience financial barriers of meeting minimum order quantities of suppliers outside of Cambodia and then importing fabric into the country. We are acutely aware of our impact on the local economy, and we choose to place our money where it has the most significant impact.

Dorsu Employment & Safety Policies

All Dorsu team members are required to read, understand, sign and abide by our internal human resource policy that is inclusive of: