Cambodia-based eco-fashion brand Tonlé are all about zero-waste production. They are currently the largest ethical apparel brand in the country, offering fair wages and a secure working environment since 2013. Their motivations stem from what they refer to on their website as the “enormous global problem” of excess waste material when factories value profit over the environment. From the get-go Tonlé decided to make this waste fabric their main component in their designs. Around 90% of their materials are recycled from factories and 10% are from sustainable suppliers with the aim of having a minuscule environmental footprint and maximum social benefit. They say that through their production methods they save 22,046 pounds of materials from ending up in landfills, in comparison to the average manufacturer. Having recently launched a hugely successful new kickstarter campaign they are getting their beautiful and eco-friendly garments out to a wider audience.
As well as using sustainably sourced materials, the garments are made by hand using natural dyes and printmaking techniques. The brand is entirely transparent about who makes the products and how, and have published a collection of photos and bios of all the people who are a part of the process. This creates a more intimate relationship between the consumer and the maker and helps to remind us of the importance of knowing where are clothes come from.
Discussing this new campaign to expand their reach, founder Rachel Faller told Ecouterre they are humbled by the amount of people who have already supported their work. “It’s exciting to see that people are getting excited about our mission and products,” she said. “If we reach our goal, we’ll set new stretch goals for our project which include growing our infrastructure on the ground in Cambodia further to set us up to scale.”
As well as continuing along the same line, bringing in artisans and highly skilled weavers to create their collection by hand, Tonlé would like to continue creating a community around their designs. “We’d like to invest more money in capacity building like additional training courses for our staff,” said Faller, “and some new workshop investments that will help us scale our production.”
Check out their campaign page and website for a full look at their work.