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From the Floor Series: Production

December 26, 2017

From the Floor Series: Production

Thida and Sothy at our Production Studio in Kampot, Cambodia.  


 

From the Floor Series is a further insight into what we do at Dorsu, how and why. Have you ever wondered where your clothes were made? What is the production process? Who makes them? Well, we would like to show you, every step of the way, from idea generation to final product. 


The first piece in our From the Floor Series was all about our design process, and how we begin the journey of bringing our ideas to life. The next step, after we source our fabric, is moving items into production. The specific processes in the production line differ slightly depending on the product, e.g. t-shirts, move through different stages to a tank dress, and then again depending on the different styles run through production at the same time. Production starts toward the back of the building with cutting, moves into the middle with production and quality control and then to the front of the building into our studio store. 

The main steps of production look like this: 

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 fabric in a way that minimises wastage. We then cut it (up to 25 layers at a time) and bundle pieces together according to size. Our cutting table is located toward the back of our production space alongside the stored fabric and acts as the concrete first step of production through the building.  

Dorsu production space in Kampot, Cambodia.

Step 2: Production room

The cut and bundles pieces are then moved into the production room and distributed along the production line. Different team members carry out different steps of the production process, with one person performing one or a few task along a line of tasks. As we have a small production team (currently 6 sewers and 2 quality control) some team members will be allocated a few steps in the process. Running a production line makes it much easier and faster to move items through, reaching our capacity and ensuring quality throughout every item.

Using a t-shirt as an example, our production line will generally look something like the following:

- Step 1 & 2: neckline and binding

- Step 3 & 4: shoulder seams and binding

- Step 5: overlock sleeves and body seams

- Step 6: hemline and edges 

Srey Leak performing the final stages of quality control.

Step 3: Initial quality control

From production, garments are sent through the first stage of quality control, where one of each size is washed (if the fabric was not initially washed) and measured in thorough detail against their garment specifications. This is to check that garments are true to their size and reflect the original measurements and produced to a high quality standard. 

Step 4: Finishing & final quality control

All garments are then ironed and moved to the final stages to be individually checked over for shrinkage, warping, and construction or fabric faults. Garments are folded, packed and stored for sale. Some of these products move directly into our studio store (located at the front of our production space), allocated to our flagship store in Kampot or sent to Tasmania where our online store is based.

Sothy and Thida folding, sorting and packing Dorsu tees. 

Screen printing

We produce screen printed t-shirts from our customised range, working with our screen printing partner in Siem Reap to print tees for businesses, organisations, events, schools and groups of awesome people all over the world. These tees head through a few more stages of production.

After we have connected with great groups of people people who want to bring ethical products into their supply chains, we produce their tees (the same as above) and send them over to Silk Screen Printing Lab in Siem Reap, who print onto the tees using Phthalate-free ink. SSPL send the tees back to us, where we perform a final quality control check across the prints to make sure they are absolutely perfect and ready for delivery, right to our customers’ door.

Safety

All production staff undergo extensive training and skills development, to ensure safe, efficient and quality work by all team members. Upon employment, all staff are trained against our internal Human Resources policy, including occupational health & safety procedures, fire safety and evacuation and child protection. Training is updated and undertaken annually, where staff are also trained on the safe use and maintenance of sewing equipment and procedures to deal with risks and incidents in the workplace.

We believe that fair and safe employment is the responsibility of all companies and we prioritise the physical and emotional wellbeing of our employees above everything else.

Next week in the From the Floor Series- we would like to introduce you to our team so you can get to know the talented individuals making your clothes. Stay tuned!


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: