Buy Better, Travel Often, Be You: Dorsu Partner Spotlight
Designed and made in-house at their production studio, they offer a range of Women's and Men’s basics to encourage customers to create a wardrobe that stretches across seasons and suits all purposes, rather than releasing seasonal collections influenced by temporary industry trends. By maintaining best sellers and their most versatile designs, they add new collections on a seasonal basis to reflect what you both want and need.
Versatility is not the only distinguishing feature about Dorsu. Their pieces are made from remnant cotton jersey sourced from fabric suppliers in Phnom Penh. They scour the warehouses of their preferred suppliers and burn test all fabric to ensure garments contain very little or no synthetic fibres, all to find what they believe to be the best quality cotton jersey.
Hanna’s initial iteration of Dorsu began as a fundraising vehicle to support the Chumkriel Language School in the Kampot community. Since then, it has grown to influence people to re-imagine a world where clothing isn't seen as disposable and where ethical production isn't seen as charity.
1. What was your inspiration to start Dorsu?
We started in 2008 and initially wanted to create a fundraising business for a local school selling simple clothing from a small outlet in our town, Kampot. The motivation to re-model the company came from a lingering long term feeling that we hadn't quite 'nailed' our message and feeling that it was too similar to an NGO selling products supporting "less fortunate" or "underprivileged" people rather than focusing on the design and quality of a product. It didn't honour the power of our team and potential for us as a company.
We reset, strategized and re-shaped Dorsu into a clothing company built on transparency, but, with a focus on talking to our customers about a lifestyle change and approach to what they buy, where they travel and the relationship they have with the world. We sort of pushed the reset button in late 2014 - and haven't looked back since.
2. In which direction do you see the future of sustainable brands going as well as your own?
I'm sometimes concerned that there is a lot of chatter around sustainable clothing with buzzwords being used in a way that could become greenwashing. There are many areas of disconnect between sustainable or ethical clothing, high design value and quality, and price. I'd like to see this all consolidated into sustainable brands being a space where transparency and social and environmental impact are the highest priority, where customers can access information and afford to purchase, where design integrity is valued, and some of the more difficult questions are addressed, such as buying less overall. This is where I believe brands can lead the way in creating more systemic change.
We want to grow. The underpinning values of our brand and business model will remain the same, but, the future for Dorsu involves bringing our clothes to a broader market and then having more power to expand our operations, collaborate with like-minded brands, enhance our team and community aspects. We will be a bigger and better version of ourselves, but will never lose the integrity or heart of a grounded, 'real' brand.
3. What is your proudest moment thus far in Dorsu's journey?
We've had some very large achievements such as renovating an incredible old salt warehouse into our production studio and creating an amazing workspace for our team, or working with inspiring international companies to produce their t-shirts, but, it's the smaller moments that impact us the most, they're difficult to describe and contextual but something small will trigger that 'oh wow this is where we're at now' moment. Mostly it's the team we have built. I'm proud of our team of committed, passionate, diverse boundary-pushers.
4. Where can readers currently find your brand (cities)?
We're based in Kampot and available in other stockists in Phnom Penh and Sieam Reap, Cambodia. We are stocked in Sydney, Australia and also available online.
5. What excites you about partnering with Kanekta?
The domino effect of building a community of conscious consumers! We're obviously excited to work directly with more businesses interested in stocking ethically sourced clothing, but, the scale created by being able to communicate through our products to a new market of buyers who may then be inspired to also create change in this space is very inspiring - the potential is somewhat endless.
To learn more about Dorsu and Hanna’s story visit http://www.dorsu.org/dorsu-way/. Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta starting August 2017.