tonle: making a real difference

1:07 AMJennie Barck

In a sea of fashion brands using a variety of ways to be ethical and ecological, it is hard to distinguish the one's that are truly making a difference, and not just doing it for show. I bring you the company tonle; a Cambodian based, truly ethical online shop that ships worldwide. This is a brand that not only recycled every last thread in their clothing, but also employs Cambodians and pays them a salary that is way past the minimum. To find out more about what exactly it is that tonle does,  here's an interview I did with Kaitlyn from tonle a while back.

What's next for tonle? Are there any upcoming projects, collaborations or campaigns?

It has been an exciting year of growth for tonlé. We recently launched online retail in Australia and will be launching in the US this month in time for the holidays.

What kind of innovative fabrics has tonle created and how?

tonlé uses primarily recycled materials from large garment factories here in Cambodia that would otherwise end up in landfills. We turn our small scraps into yarn and weave them into garments to create new looks out of twice recycled materials. We also have one material that is hand woven on a loom with our scrap fabrics interwoven to the exact dimensions needed to eliminate any waste from cutoffs.

Where and how are the materials sourced for your clothing?

Each week our sourcing team goes to the remnant materials markets to source fabrics for our production runs. It is a difficult job as they need to scour through piles and piles of factory cast offs to find quality fabrics that are the correct color, material, texture, and weight needed for production. More information can be found here.

What is the design team for Tonle clothing? What is the design process like?

Rachel Faller, tonlé's ceo and creative director, is the brand's lead designer. She creates the concepts for each collection and then works with a team of Cambodian technical designers to turn the ideas into wearable garments.

Where is Tonle headed? What are some long term goals you are hoping to achieve?

We are excited to expand our international presence with more and more worldwide wholesale clients and online distribution. We want to keep growing so that we can employ more people and make a larger dent in the piles of factory waste produced here each day.
How did you decide on basing the company in Cambodia?

Rachel Faller came to Cambodia in 2008 on a scholarship to study the fair trade business model. She fell in love with the people and the culture and felt inspired to start her own workshop and fashion label. 

Does Cambodian lifestyle or culture affect or inspire the design or the process of making the clothes in any way?

Many of tonlé's screen printed designs are inspired by the natural beauty of Cambodia. Cambodian culture is woven throughout the brand from our logo and designs to our packaging. tonlé clothes are wearable, comfortable and versatile and encompass elements of Cambodian culture with their colorful prints and patterns.

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