WOMEN - A collaborative collection by Dorsu & SHE Investments, in support of women lead businesses and organisations throughout Cambodia.
Disclaimer: this is not just another feminist tee.
This is the real deal.
At Dorsu, we celebrate all women, everywhere. Whether that be you, our reader, or our customers, staff, suppliers or our vegetable lady. Every woman matters to us, and we want them to matter to you, too.
You may have noticed that feminism has become kind of a trend lately, with feminist t-shirts being used as a vessel to fight for women’s rights, speak out against domestic violence or to visually say ‘f**k the patriarchy’.
Clothing is used and worn as a form of expression, a symbol of our innermost thoughts and feelings. As a clothing company, we are all about this. We absolutely believe in the power of expression, in the art of fashion. However, we are not so supportive of the in-balance that has been created between the women who purchase the tees and the women who make them.
The women buying the tees, who walk the streets with their feminist agenda printed across their chest are not the only ones who matter in this fight. What about the women making the tees? The women who are most likely working in unsafe and/or exploitative conditions to produce that t-shirt?
In recent years, there have been numerous accounts of blatant exploitation in the production of female empowering clothing lines. See Beyonce’s activewear line, The Spice Girls charity t-shirts and the ‘This Is What a Feminist Looks Like’ tees. This disconnect between consumer and producer needs to stop.
We are all for women and men alike to rep their passions in the form of a well designed t-shirt graphic, however, it’s time we considered the impact our purchase actually makes - beyond the response we aim to elicit by wearing the tee itself.
To quote a basic definition of feminism, the concept is about“the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. By choosing to remain ignorant of where your feminist tee was made, how and by whom, you are choosing to exclude an entire group of women from the rights in which you are seeking for yourself.
Fashion - it’s a feminist issue.
Globally, women account for 80% of the garment workforce, with the majority located in the South East Asia region. Cambodia is one of the largest producers of clothing globally, employing over 700,000 workers and accounting for over 70% of the country’s total export revenue. Most of these workers are women, who are subject to harsh and often dangerous working conditions, with long working hours, low pay, minimal job security and unsafe transport to and from factories.
As a clothing producer within this context, it’s our responsibility to provide an alternative for workers, to redefine the norm and break the pervasive cycle. We don’t believe any business should be run the way factories tend to be, and no human being should be exposed to such working conditions.
By choosing to support WOMEN, you will be actively contributing to a shift in awareness, opportunity and education for Cambodian women in the workforce. You will be supporting skills development, mentorship and business opportunities for female workers and business owners, indirectly supporting bigger and brighter futures for their daughters, communities and their country.
Clickhere to see more about how the sale of each WOMEN piece will directly support Cambodian women.
Be a feminist - get involved.
WOMEN is launching this Saturday February 16.
Cambodia - Dorsu will be at Fem Fest in Phnom Penh, where you can purchase both pieces from the collection and meet some of the Dorsu team in person. Details of the event are here.
Australia & Worldwide -The WOMEN collection will be available for pre-order at dorsu.org, with all orders fulfilled from March 8.
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'll 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: