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Reflection and a new way forward

September 06, 2018

Reflection and a new way forward

REFLECTION

  1. An image; representation; counterpart
  2. A thought occurring in consideration or meditation

Welcome to the first instalment of Reflection; a brand new collection of limited edition ethical clothing pieces, kickstarting a new way forward for Dorsu. Featuring most loved elements from past collections and produced in fresh, muted colours, each item suits both warm and cool weather, forming a seasonless, versatile and reliable wardrobe.


(Image credit Rita McNeill)

A NEW COLLECTION, A NEW WAY 

After the release of our last collection, Purpose, we reflected on how we do things at Dorsu. We had struggled with the production and release process due to fabric supply, the pressure of turnaround time, under-producing items and fear of death-by-excessive-inventory, the common cause of many fashion labels’ demise.

We took time. We reviewed the way we design, produce and release our ranges and realised while we were busy striving to be a 'clothing company' we were forgetting that we hold an incredible advantage in producing on site. We unpacked our processes, deciding to strip back our releases and stop working to conventional seasons. By letting go of industry pressure to design extensive ranges, we are able to move away from the traditional system we are trying to change.

Our strength lies in our unique model; our branding and production teams work side by side, even if, at times, an ocean separates them. We design, manufacture and sell as one cohesive crew. We have a strong community and want to hold honest dialogue with our customers to show the steps of developing each release: fabric sourcing, design, production and sale.

Going against the grain, Dorsu redefines what is considered ‘normal’ when it comes to fashion production and consumption, prioritising sustainability, quality and ethical practices above all else.

DESIGN PROCESS & RELEASE CYCLES

We’ll now be releasing 2-4 new pieces every 8 weeks, rather than much larger collections, multiple times a year. Designed, produced and prepared for sale in a structured cycle, this process is  our way; our strength and our advantage. This allows us to slow down, which is already fundamental to our ethos! These items will be produced in colours and fabrics that are available to us at the time, short production runs that are essentially limited edition.

These conscious releases are not driven by a desire to build hype purely for consumption or to rapidly force beautifully made garments into clearance sales. This approach allows us to be intentional, responsive and adaptable.

Each release will be curated to sit alongside the previous and upcoming designs. Paired with our all-year-round core collection, these garments will become feature pieces in a wardrobe that people can style across seasons, in diverse ways for various occasions.

Heavy focus will be placed on customer engagement through our website and social media. This feedback will contribute to our ongoing design plans for following releases. We’re opening up to customers, offering not only ethical clothing, but an experience where you feel informed and involved. We want to be known as the company that shows you what is happening behind the scenes and the team that listens.

YOUR EXPERIENCE, JOIN US

Similar to the experience that our in-store customers have when shopping in our production studio, we want our online crew to see the backstory of how your clothing is made and contribute to its creation. For this approach to shatter the status quo and redefine fashion as we know it, we need to hear your thoughts. The more reviews and comments we receive, the more we are able to design exactly what you are looking for in basics.

Email us, DM us, call us! We want to hear from you, want to work with you!


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: