DATA

ABOUT THE BRAND

Dorsu is a socially responsible clothing brand based in Cambodia, producing a range of high quality women’s and men’s basics made from remnant cotton jersey fabrics.

Here’s a video about the brand’s Co-Founder, Hanna Guy, by Walk Sew Good:

HIGHLIGHTS

Dorsu is a socially responsible clothing brand based in Cambodia, producing a range of high quality women’s and men’s basics made from remnant cotton jersey fabrics.

THE PROS:

💡 Dorsu has established its own workshop in Cambodia. The brand states that its business model is innovative compared with the norm in Cambodia, due to its practices of shortened work hours, which allow for less risk of injury and more time with family, creating a family-culture at work, and paying performance-based bonuses as positive reinforcement.

♻️ The brand garments are made with remnant cotton jersey, sourced from suppliers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

💪🏼 Dorsu’s employment and working policies include that employees work 5x 9-hour days including 1 hour lunch, and 2x 15min breaks. (The Cambodian labour law states a standard work week as 6 days.) Dorsu states that it does offer an optional 6th working day during busy periods. If taken, this day is paid at a 1.5 overtime rate.

THE CONS:

🔍 The brand does not report annually on sustainability practices and progress.

♻️ The brand acknowledges that its fabric has limitations, and that it does not know the true origins of the fabric it uses. However, Dorsu believes that it doing the best that it can within the context in which it works.

/ Dorsu is a clothing brand based in Kampot, Cambodia, and founded by Hannah Guy and Kunthear Mov in 2008 with the aim of creating fair and positive employment opportunities and financial support for community education in the area.

/ The brand has 18 direct employees, made up of 13 at its Cambodian workshop, 4 in Australia and 1 at its retail shop.

/ The brand states that it designs products that are trans-seasonal, and will go with a variety of items in people’s wardrobes. Dorsu does not specifically release collections, but instead releases a range of garments twice a year online. It also releases small collections at physical locations based on customer feedback, fabric availability and sales.

/ Dorsu reports that it designs and constructs its garments with a focus on making them strong, durable and long-lasting.

/ Dorsu manufactures its garments at its workshop in Cambodia. The brand states that it keeps as much of its operations in house as possible to ensure staff in its supply chain are treated fairly. When Dorsu does work with other suppliers in Cambodia, it selects them based on their willingness to share information about their operations, relevant certificates and allowing the brand to visit their premises.

/ The brand shares information on its founders and the people who work for Dorsu on its website.

/ Dorsu reports that its main suppliers are fabric wholesalers who are all based in the Tuol Kork region of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

/ The brand’s screen printer is based in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

/ Dorsu sources its garment labels and swing tags from companies in Thailand.

/ Dorsu shares its Code of Conduct, translated into Khmer, with all employees in its Human Resources & Procedures Manual which they are given when they commence employment with the brand. It is also posted on site.

Dorsu’s employment and working policies are:

  • Staff are employed under permanent contracts that are reviewed annually.
  • Staff work 5x 9-hour days including 1 hour lunch, and 2x 15min breaks. (The Cambodian labour law states a standard work week as 6 days.) Dorsu states that it does offer an optional 6th working day during busy periods. If taken, this day is paid at a 1.5 overtime rate
  • The brand’s base wages exceed the Cambodian-legal minimum and vary according to position responsibilities. In addition, Dorsu pays monthly performance-based bonuses based on quality, team work, adherence to safety policies and punctuality
  • Annual leave is accrued, main national public holidays are given, sick and personal leave are provided and maternity and paternity leave are all offered.
  • Employees are provided with shoes, clothing, a bicycle and / or a motorcycle helmet upon employment

/ Dorsu staff are entitled to 2.5 months full maternity leave. Parental leave of one month at full pay is granted to the partner of the mother of the baby, regardless of marital status or sexuality.

/ Dorsu staff members are able to take extended leave of up to one year with security of employment.

/ Dorsu provides staff with training to ensure they can complete jobs safely and competently. In addition to this training, other training opportunities include on-the-job training, coaching and external training (such as fire safety) and courses.

/ The brand garments are made with remnant cotton jersey, sourced from suppliers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Dorsu states that it does everything possible, including using composition information, to ensure that it is sourcing high quality cotton fabric from this sourcing method.

/ Dorsu reports that it burn tests all fabrics to ensure its products are made of very little, or no, synthetic fibres.

/ Dorsu’s swing tags are printed on 100% recycled card using vegetable ink, use non-bleached string & safety pins. Dorsu states that the supplier of these tags holds ISO and Oeko-Tex certifications. We have no further information on this.

/ Dorsu states that its neck and care labels are made from polyester, certified to the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 for harmful substances.

/ The brand reports that no harsh chemicals are used on-site, and that it uses only chemical-free cleaning products (including pre-washing garments).

/ Dorsu reports that its screen-printing is done using Pthalate-free ink.

/ Dorsu states that its clothing is designed to create minimal waste in the first round of production. Fabric off-cuts are then used to create smaller garments and underwear. In turn, scraps from this round of production are used to produce its packaging. The final fabric scraps are used to make cleaning cloths for the workshop, or if the team wish to take them home. The smallest fabric scraps are given away to people who are willing to pick them up, and used to make cotton jersey thread, hammocks and floor cleaning mats.

/ The brand states that it will be visiting potential new fabric suppliers in Vietnam in March 2017, and a smaller-scale cotton-weaving programme in Laos in April 2017.

/ Dorsu is researching how to broaden its fabric supply chain. So far in 2017, it has been negotiating with closed-loop fabric producers in Europe and the US, but has encountered difficulties with the process. The brand will look further into these experimental ranges later in 2017.

/ Dorsu states that it would like to produce more temporary collaborations in the future based on protests or campaigns.

/ The brand reports that it will also be broadening its internal monitoring system in 2017.

/ Dorsu would like to be able to support its screen printer to invest in research and experimentation with more environmentally friendly inks, and is now in a financial position to be able to do this.

/ Dorsu states that, as it grows, it would like to expand its premises to include smaller clusters of workshops instead of one large factory space.

/ Dorsu states that it would like to create an on-site childcare and early-learning facility.

 

/ Dorsu reports that it provides financial support to the Chumkriel Language School (CLS), which provides education and support services in its local community of Kampot.

/ Dorsu states that, in the future, it would like to be able to increase its community contribution to support education, other start-ups, local designers and other programmes in Cambodia by growing its community foundation.

/ Since 2012, Dorsu had partnered with Australian nonprofit Creative Spark, which supports and facilitates creative classes for children, youth and women worldwide, to hold the Wool for Women program. The program provides skills and teacher training for rural women in Cambodia, and is meant to complement and add to Dorsu’s work to establish sustainable and creative livelihoods for its women through craft skill, including crochet.

/ We do not have any information on the brands CEO or how much they made in the last financial year.

/ There are no reported management scandals or issues.

/ In March 2016, Khmer Times reported that Dorsu Co-founder Kunthear Mov was a former garment worker.

/ In March 2016, Khmer Times reported that Dorsu’s co-founders, though while trying to be as sustainable as possible, decided to focus primarily on providing a good working environment for employees, and to teach skills that could help residents in Kampot Province, Cambodia find alternatives to manual labor.

/ Dorsu has established its own workshop in Cambodia. The brand states that its business model is innovative compared with the norm in Cambodia, due to its practices of shortening work hours to allow for less risk of injury and more time with family, creating a family-culture at work and paying performance-based bonuses as positive reinforcement, rather than penalising mistakes.

/ The brand garments are made with remnant cotton jersey, sourced from suppliers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Dorsu states that it does everything possible, including using composition information, to ensure that it is sourcing high quality cotton fabric from this sourcing method.

/ Dorsu staff are entitled to 2.5 months full maternity leave. Parental leave of one month at full pay is granted to the partner of the mother of the baby, regardless of marital status or sexuality.

/ Dorsu reports that it would like to keep its production runs small and be able to adapt its designs and products as they need to be adapted.

VOICES

LIV DOOGUE & TESSA CHILALA | ETHICAL STYLE HUNTER

“Dorsu acknowledges that they are not able to trace the origin of their fabrics, but this story is a great reminder that there are a myriad ways that innovative and passionate brands are walking the walk when it comes to sustainable design in the garment industry.” – 09/04/2016


CreativeSparkDORSU WORKER SOTHY TO STACEY IRVING | CREATIVE SPARK

Before Dorsu I had never had a job … I am much happier now because I can support all my brothers and sisters at home. It’s difficult in the village [because]

many children don’t have a mother at home to prepare them. The father is busy cutting rice, selling animals, doing whatever to make money.” – 06/18/2014


 

HANNA GUY, CO-FOUNDER | LIPMAG

We want to create fair and positive employment opportunities and continue to financially support community education. We believe that providing safe jobs to adults and allowing children to access education is the best way to grow a strong community.”

“I was excited and inspired by the idea that business could create a sustainable form of income both for the people directly involved through employment and also for the school. At the time there were very few opportunities to buy clothes or products made in Kampot and so clothing seemed a great place to start.” – 10/09/2015

HANNA GUY, CO-FOUNDER | ECOMONO

Our team are the same as our customers- real people, with real lives, and they care. We want to bring a fresh openness into this space with an affordable long-lasting product that allows more everyday people to make active change through their clothing purchases. We’re creating a world where clothing isn’t seen as disposable and where ethical production isn’t seen as charity.” – 10/03/2016