Helen and Riria, photographed by Nisa. Words by Hanna Guy.
Collaboration is a big part of what we do at Dorsu, working together to design products, create campaigns and build community means we can join tribes, share strengths and skills, and have fun! Nisa and Dorsu share many similarities; our in-house manufacturing, our production house and sales studio combination and our mission to provide supportive and safe employment to communities who most often do not have that opportunity, many of whom are mothers.
Our Mother’s Day campaign celebrates mothers everywhere in admiration of the strength, creativity, tenacity and kindness of all of our Mums. The artwork printed on our collaboration tee depicts a mother and her child, heads bowed together in a special moment, reflecting the crucial and loving bond between the two. While we understand and are curious about the differences in our cultures, home countries and languages, we’re also humbled by the similarities shared globally by women trying to be strong Mothers, achievers at work and also finding time for themselves.
Yanti and Mary,photographed by Nisa.
Our Co-Founder, Kunthear, shares her thoughts on being a working mum:
"When I come to work I’m not worried about them (my children). I focus on what I want to build at work and do my best to earn an income for our family. I think it’s important that they see me and learn that we have to work hard for what we want to achieve.
I try hard to create a supportive and safe environment for them and worry a lot about finding them high quality education opportunities. In my dreams I want to see them be good people in the future. I want them to have a vision about how to ensure that whatever they do for work or if they create a business, that they do not hurt people. I hope they are proud that I am trying to grow our community.
If I’m ever thinking about if I’m doing the right thing I make time for them and try to help them understand. I want to grow a strong, happy family and also want to improve myself and grow our business."
Elisha Watson, Nisa founder, shares what this collaboration means to her business and team:
"Many of Nisa and Dorsu’s production team are mothers themselves. In fact Nisa’s working day is built around their employees’ childcare arrangements, finishing at 3pm to allow staff to go home and collect children from school. When we are interviewing for new positions, it’s such a relief for people to know that they don’t have to choose between looking after their kids and having a career themselves.”
This collaboration honours and celebrates women and mothers all over the world, made by mums, for mums.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The sewn products are washed and individually measured against their specifications, checking they’re true-to-size.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All Dorsu team members are required to read, understand, sign and abide by our internal human resource policy that is inclusive of: