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Buy Better

November 11, 2016

Buy Better

Photo by Rita McNiell

 

Wearing our values means buying better- being informed, seeking well designed and well made products. Knowing the impact of a purchase on all levels can lead to some of the biggest change, and we are on a mission to see some of that change.

From food to clothing to electronics, our purchases have an impact that is usually much more widespread than meets the eye.

Think about a $5 cotton t-shirt: the fibre was grown, harvested, dyed, spun, woven / knitted into fabric, produced and packaged- most likely all in different locations and transported a multitude of times. The impact of this one t-shirt can spread across continents, touch the lives of thousands of people and use an incredibly significant amount of resources. When you buy this $5 t-shirt, can you honestly say you are aware of the impact it has? If you can, great! If you can’t, it’s time to start asking some questions to really know what you’re buying.

Being a conscious consumer means making informed decisions. Get informed by asking questions- ask your favourite brands where and how their clothing is made. As consumers, we hold an incredible amount of power. Companies and brands rely on consumers to buy their products to be profitable businesses. Without our dollars, they would essentially cease to exist. Used wisely, this consumer purchasing power can enforce some serious amounts of change in the way clothing is produced, sold and consumed.

We have seen a major shift in attitudes towards fashion in recent years at the hands of internet and social media as a tool for raising awareness. The 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh saw to the opening of global eyes to the realities of garment production in developing nations. It also saw to the development of the global social movement Fashion Revolution, a movement spread through social media to raise awareness of garment production encouraging consumers to ask ‘who made my clothes’.

It saw to a wave of consumer concern for how their clothes are being made, resulting in the need for global brands such as Zara to list their sustainability policies and implement programs such as H&M’s recycling initiative.  This consumer push also saw to brands sourcing and creating supply chains of ethical production as well as the creation of many stores, blogs and websites around the world advocating and selling ethically produced clothing.

Social media is widely used as a means to band together with like-minded people to work towards a common goal. Already a huge network of people are gathering all around the world to bring light to a global issue, learn and teach new practices and offer alternative choices and solutions for consumers. Buying better can involve utilising these available resources to find ways in which you can make changes in your lifestyle and consumption behaviour.

Buying better may mean buying less, it may mean buying organic or fair trade. It may mean buying one big investment item per year, or it may mean buying directly from the producer. Find how buying better can fit within your lifestyle. Start with asking asking questions, doing some research and understanding how your choices impact people and the planet.


Our Design Process
Design

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. 

Inspiration

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'll 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

Each year, we release new collections of carefully-selected, exciting designs in limited edition colours. Sitting alongside is our Core Collection, available year-round in beloved neutrals.

Our Production Process
Step 1: Cutting

The first step in the cutting process is washing the fabric, to test shrinkage and colour fastness. Our cutter, Samorn, cuts 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, and 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 Tasmania for international retail.

Safety

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 wellbeing of our employees above everything else.

Customer Service & Sales
In-Store Retail

We have two storefronts in Kampot, Cambodia: at the Old Market and the front of our Road 33 production studio, led by our Retail Sales Manager. All team members take part in quarterly training on our new ranges -- design, material, and styling -- and relay customer feedback to the design team. 

Also,  if you live and work in Cambodia, our In-Store Retail Team are the people organising in-country delivery, answering your messages, and calling couriers to make sure your package arrives safely and timely. 

Online Retail

We ship our Australia and international orders from Australia. However, our E-Commerce Manager works in our Kampot production studio, making sure our international customers can have the same experience as you were to visit us in person.

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

Wholesale & Custom Orders

We ship all bulk orders from our Road 33 production studio. 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
Safety
Policies

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