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PSA - A response to Inclusivity and Diversity in Sizing

February 24, 2019

WOMEN - Ethical feminist t-shirts

Photography by Tiffany Tsang, words by Ellen Tirant.
 


 Hey there Dorsu Crew!

 

As some of you may know, over the weekend we launched our WOMEN collection, a collaboration of feminist inspired t-shirts between Dorsu & SHE Investments, in support of Cambodian women in business.

 

The purpose of this collection is to bridge the gap between consumer and producer, acknowledging the women along a products supply chain that should also benefit from the messaging a feminist t-shirts aims to portray.

 

The collection is designed to be inclusive and representative of women all over the world. During the launch period, we received some invaluable feedback via social media. It was pointed out to us that although our WOMEN collection is inclusive of women along its supply chain, it perhaps is not so inclusive of a group of women who sit outside of our size range of XS-XL.

 

We hear you on that, we really do, and are so grateful that our crew are able to reach out to us and share their thoughts, so we can continue to grow and learn as a brand and producer within the ethical industry.

 

Offering a broader size range is something that we have been working on for a while now. We understand the importance of a diverse sizing range and it’s currently a part of our longer term growth strategy.

 

Dorsu is a small company, and with that comes varying limitations. Adjusting our size range requires an alternate approach to design, to ensure that each piece both fits and flatters across a size range. The process will increase investment and inventory, and with that, risk. As a brand that has been operating within this space for only a few years, our sales data is relatively limited. We often find ourselves weighing up benefits of investing in what we want to do vs. what is viable for the company. We are still growing and learning, all which takes time.

 

It’s an absolute joy to work alongside our customers - utilising our unique position in Cambodia to spend time with our customers in-store, gaining real-time and insightful feedback. We are still discovering what works best for both our customers and for us as a business, and we appreciate your consistent and unwavering support through this growth period.

 

However, we do acknowledge that our size range is relatively exclusive, limiting access to a group of people who wish to support our products and the industry as a whole. We have spent the past week developing both immediate and long term strategies to diversify our size range, because all women matter. We want Dorsu to be accessible to as many people as possible, all over the world.

 

The WOMEN collection is now available online for pre-order, from sizes XXS through XXXL.

 

To implement this across our entire product range, we would like your help. We would love to hear from you, our customers, about how we can better meet your needs. Below is a link to a quick survey - we would very much appreciate a few minutes of your time so we can move forward with crucial data directly from our customers and community.

 

Complete the survey here.

 

Thank you for being a part of our crew and for supporting what we do and why. Team Dorsu.

 


 

WOMEN ix now available in sizes XXS - XXXL. See here for size and fit guide. If you would like further assistance on choosing the best size for you, please feel free to reach out to hello@dorsu.org, where our Kampot team can provide further information regarding garment sizing and fit.

 


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: