Posts in Fashion
What it’s really like to be a garment worker and run an ethical business in Cambodia. 

There are some things in this world that can only be understood when you’re actually in them. Working as a garment worker in Cambodia is one of those. Sure, you can watch The True Cost, read interviews, and indulge in media coverage, but describing what it’s like to work in one of the world’s most polluting and damaging industries, is near impossible.

Hey, we’re Dorsu, and we’re attempting the near impossible. As a Cambodian - Australian run ethical fashion brand, we know a thing or two (or three), about the Cambodian fashion industry. We’re going to try our very best to help you understand what it’s really like to be a garment worker in Cambodia, and explain how we’re putting all our energy into changing the lives of Cambodian garment workers by doing things differently.

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Why do brands burn unsold clothes?

As a consumer, you may well have heard of the common practices that brands participate in when ridding themselves of unwanted stock. Incinerating unsold consumer products is a regular occurrence in France and is executed by the country’s leading fashion brands. However, the French Government is pushing to no longer allow these fast fashion culls due to their inability to ever be a sustainable exercise on this planet. Can we get a hell yeah?

Led by its Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, the French Government is seeking to ban the destruction of goods unsold from within the fashion industry. The burning of unsold consumer products has long been a regular practice in France, and although the big brands’ reasoning behind this may not come as a shock to the consumer, it seems that now is more important than ever to discourage any kind of custom that would cause unnecessary strain on our already strained environment.

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Is vegan leather actually better for the environment?

Since October 2018, searches for “vegan leather” have skyrocketed ​by 119%​. Turns out it’s not only vegan food the world is hungry for, but vegan fashion too. High street brands, like Topshop, are embracing vegan leathers’ debut, and even Dr Martens have launched an animal friendly version of their globally adored classic boot. Vegan leather seems like the obvious ethical and environmentally friendly approach to a US$40 billion leather industry that mistreats animals, exposes workers to harmful chemicals, and pollutes. But we’re calling vegan leather’s bluff. Vegan leather isn’t always best for the planet, workers, or animals.

Don’t sweat, we’re not ruling out vegan leather altogether. We’re simply here to remove your vegan tinted glasses and explain the effects of both.

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What is linen fabric made from and why do so many people love wearing it?

Let’s talk about linen. You may only be acquainted with this wonder fabric through your favourite Zingara Collection piece, or because that linen tablecloth your grandma gave you when you moved out of home five years ago is still going strong (regardless of the copious amounts of spilled wine). Despite your constant interaction with this fabric, what you may not know about is its origins and the way in which it was utilised before modern technology. So, we’re here to tell you a bit more about this beautiful, enduring fabric, and how it gets from the soil to your wardrobe.   

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13 Terms You Didn’t Know About Ethical Fashion.

We’ve all had that awkward word moment. You know, the one where someone’s used a word you’ve never heard in your life and you stand there smiling and waving like the penguins from Madagascar told you to because, well, you literally have no idea what that word means. There are a lot of terms within the ethical and sustainable world that are not often discussed or used in the mainstream sphere but are the cause of these awkward word moments. Never fear, Ethical Made Easy is here! Sorry team, we had to.

In the wake of our What the F**k Is Ethical Fashion? eBook release, a collaboration between us and the wonderful Kate Hall of Ethically Kate, we’ve decided it’d be a great idea to put together a list of some little-known terms often slapped onto the tags of ethical fashion products. It’s important to know what these particular words and phrases mean so you have the ability to make your own decisions based on your understanding of the promises that a particular company has made. Keep calm and read on ‘cause the definitions that accompany the following ethical terms will eventually come in handy.

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What is Fast Fashion?

I don’t know who came up with the term ‘Fast Fashion’ first, but whoever did used the genius of alliteration to coin a name fun enough to talk about openly without putting people off. Imagine if it was called ‘child-abuse fashion’, or ‘earth-corrupting fashion’. Not catchy, and people’ll run for the hills as soon as you bring it up.

Melinda Tually, the coordinator of Fashion Revolution Australia, says you know something’s Fast Fashion if it’s sold in high volume with a low profit margin. New product comes into the store almost once a week, and (unsurprisingly), it’s known for its pace; you can bring an item from the factory to the shop in three to four weeks. And, because it’s as cheap as a cup of coffee, people keep buying it in high amounts.

One of the major downsides of Fast Fashion is it starts to feel disposable to us.

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Five steps to a good purchase.

How you spend your money, shapes our future.

I used to be the type of person to head to the mall each weekend, wallet at the ready with my eyes fixated on all the bargains that were soon to be mine. Now? I avoid the place, I spend my money mindfully and I wait a minimum of two weeks from when I first found an item I ‘want’, before I purchase it.

It doesn’t matter so much what type of shopper you are, what’s important is that whenever money is exchanged in return for a product, you are choosing the value of your well earnt cash, and what type of world you want to support.

A purchase shouldn’t be a mere waltz to the mall absent-mindedly; it’s a place where you use your voting power for the better.

Impulse buyers, strategic shoppers, mall avoiders, and online shopping addicts, listen up...

A GOOD purchase will do wonders for your bank account, the planet, people, and your conscience.

Five steps to a GOOD purchase.

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Three ways to break up with fast-fashion

We’ve all been in that situation where we’ve hit “confirm payment” on an item of clothing we’d just seen on the trusty ‘gram a few minutes before. With all of the “Buy Now, Pay Later” options available to us, it’s become even easier to buy without monitoring how much we’ve actually bought, and without giving any thought to the consequences that come from this extremely easy process.

If you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume that you’re aware of the ethics in the fashion industry, or at least have a loose grasp on them. You’d probably know it’s become the norm for workers to be exploited in the making of the clothes we buy, and consequently that there is now a requirement to put the word ‘ethical’ in front of fashion as a way to ensure that these people are paid a living wage to make our clothes. Not a minimum wage, a living one.

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Is hemp the most sustainable fabric?

Of all of the plants available for cultivation and utilisation by human beings, hemp has got to be up there as one of the most handy. Hemp is a strain of the cannabis species so it has long been utilised for its medicinal purposes, but it’s super versatile; it can be used to make paper, art supplies, skincare products, food products, biomass fuels and, because the fibers have immense strength and durability, it is even used to form an insulating building block similar to concrete. So basically, hemp is a super plant.

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Why Fashion is a Feminist Issue.

Fashion can be attributed to feminism in a multitude of ways. Clothing is a form of expression, a way in which women choose to communicate with the world. It is often printed with feminist quotes and marketed as a product to empower women. It’s also a female dominated industry, with the majority of garment workers, globally, being women.

Fashion is a feminist issue, and it’s time to acknowledge the unfair in-balance between consumers and the women who make our clothing.  

The 2018 Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Report found that the Asia-Pacific region is the largest producer of the world’s clothing, made up of over 43 million workers from low-middle income countries. According to Labour Behind the Label, 80% of garment workers worldwide are women. Although the industry turns over $3 trillion globally, it’s not workers and their families who are benefitting.

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Could you wear six items.... for six weeks? Gabi did, here are her lessons.

For my third year in a row, I’m attempting the month-and-a-half of figurative pain that is the Six Items Challenge (exactly what it sounds like. Choose six items of clothing from your wardrobe and wear them, and only them, for six weeks).

I’m totally kidding. I mean, I am doing the challenge, but I wouldn’t be doing it for the third year in a row if it was the smelly, repetitive, restrictive chore that you’d assume it would be. And this isn’t like pregnancy, if you’re wondering. You know, where the woman invariably says to her partner in the throes of labour pain that this is IT, it’s the very last time, she’s NEVER EVER doing this again, better get used to the idea of having just the one kid. And then she meets the child, is flooded with clever hormones made to make her forget her suffering, and two years later she’s re-impregnated.

Okay, I went off on a tangent, but my point is there are no sneaky hormones involved here and therefore I was actually fully in control of my faculties when I decided to once again wear six items of clothing for six weeks. Here are the reasons I’d do such a thing;

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Why Kmart & Marie Claire’s recent piece: ‘what to buy to create the perfect (and ethical) capsule wardrobe on a budget’ is nothing but greenwashing.

The ethical fashion world, including us, are in a state of anger and frustration. For those who aren’t aware, on the 14th of March 2019, Marie Claire published an article, sponsored by Kmart, titled ‘what to buy to create the perfect (and ethical) capsule wardrobe on a budget’. Sounds pretty great that a) ethical fashion is hitting the mainstream and b) Kmart is ethical now?

We were excited at the thought too. But if you take off your rose tinted glasses, you’ll see this article for what it really is: greenwashing with a humble side of undercutting actual ethical brands.

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3 ways to participate in ethical fashion when you can hardly pay rent.

“I’d love to participate in ethical fashion, but I just can’t afford it.”

Let’s not beat around the bush; ethical fashion is more expensive. The cost of ethical fashion represents the true cost of a garment, where no one is exploited in the process of making it. But no matter how much you know about the truth behind the fashion industry, or how passionate you are about workers rights and sustainability, when your weekly routine is adding up every single penny to see what you have left for food after rent is paid, it’s hard to justify paying $70 for a tank top instead of $5. In fact, it’s often impossible.

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Is ethical fashion really as expensive as we think?

The average woman wears only 33% of her wardrobe. Dwell on this for a second or two. It’s crazy right? Why the heck does the other 67% exist? Unfortunately, we’ve been trained to think of fashion like a disposable skin that we can oh so easily strip off, and replace when we are bored. Heck, if a shirt is the price of a coffee, why wouldn’t you buy it in 7 different colours, wear only two of them, and then go back to the mall the very next week looking for something different?

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How to declutter your home without making your stuff someone else's problem.

Stuff is suffocating. It creeps into our lives unsuspectedly, fills our cupboards, and clouds our minds. The more stuff we have, the more time we spend cleaning, repairing, moving, and maintaining it. Batteries, buttons, laces: they all need to be considered and replaced, and that takes time and mental energy. The more time and energy you spend maintaining stuff, the less time …

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Why bother with ethical fashion?

 Ethical fashion. If you say these two words to someone when you first meet, you’re likely to be given back a blank stare and raised eyebrows. Huh? The average person will think of slaves, child labour, and sweat shop factories they’ve seen glimpses of on the news. These are valid points in the discussion of …

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