Zero waste fashion: Q&A with US brand Tonlé

Meet Tonlé, the San Francisco-based womenswear brand made entirely from surplus fabric discarded by apparel manufacturers in Cambodia. The brand’s motto is “every thread matters”: the scraps they cannot transform into new clothing are cut into strips and individually hand sewn into “yarn” for new clothes. The scraps left after that are mixed with recycled office paper and sticky rice to make tags. Working in this fashion leaves 2-3 percent waste, compared to an average of 40 percent in a typical factory, the company claims on its website. Packaging is made from recycled paper and cardboard — except when wholesalers or warehouses specifically demand a plastic wrap.

Tonlé brings zero-waste women’s fashion to SF

This is a process known as zero waste, a radical notion that forward-thinking fashion-industry types are finally waking up to. Faller cuts large scraps down to make clothing like tea-length wrap dresses, coats and tops, while smaller scraps are spun into yarn-like material to be woven into other new clothing. Whatever’s left, even the smallest scraps, is made into gift cards, notebooks and hang tags.

Refashioning the fashion industry

The textile and clothing industries continue to be the backbone of Cambodia’s export-driven economy, employing 800,000 people around the country, which is 86 percent of all its factory workers, and contributing 40 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). The country is also home to Sustainability Champion, Tonlé, one of the frontrunners in processing pre-consumer waste.

This fashion company is doing something about textile waste — using it

Just like our food systems, clothing production can be extraordinarily wasteful. It’s a disturbing and upsetting fact that at least as much energy, labor and raw materials that go into a meal we eat or a pair of jeans we buy is wasted on one that’s trashed. Yes, we throw almost 50 percent of our food away, and it turns out that statistic is probably true for fashion, too.

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Teysha, is pleased to announce their first installment of a collaboration with shoe designer, Selena McCartney bringing her 15 years of shoe designing experience to their Guatemalan craftsmen. Selena and Sophie Eckrich, the 29-year-old co-founder of Teysha, are both born and raised in Central Texas with Latina mothers, so the collaboration has been full of cultural exchange and has brought new techniques to the artisan groups in Guatemala.

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“Buy one, give one” is the model at Twice As Warm, and those numbers keep growing. During the organization’s first winter of operation, it donated 210 winter hats, scarves, and gloves to needy people in its home base community of Washington, D.C. These cozy, American-made accessories include chenille gloves, striped beanies, and marled, chunky-knit infinity scarves.

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“Himalayan Wild Fibers is a company that is commercializing a textile fiber that’s extracted from a wild growing plant, a form of stinging nettle that grows in the forests of the Himalayas. It is wild harvested. We extract from that a fiber, we refine it and then we sell into existing developed supply chains,” she explains.

C. Ethan Smith of Roads Ahead et al.

Our supply chain is pretty eco-friendly. We use local businesses that are within six miles of us. If we order materials outside of Ohio we make sure to do ground shipping versus airfreight. We also seek to use materials that are eco-friendly and made in the U.S. Notably, we strive to lower our carbon footprint through the use of organic materials.

Maine Maritime athletes to wear 100 percent recycled, organic uniforms

“Atayne was immediately attractive to us for a variety of reasons,” Maine Maritime Director of Athletics Steve Peed said in a news release. “Obviously we get to feel good about using 100 percent recycled products, but as a public institution, we have an opportunity to keep business in Maine through a Brunswick-based company that employs people in Maine and around New England.”

Faire Collection: Amanda Judge

Inspired by a desire to research poverty reduction strategies in the developing world, Amanda Judge left her work in the financial industry to study social and economic development in Ecuador. Upon arriving in Ecuador, Amanda quickly realized that the best way for communities to sustainably bring themselves out of poverty was through viable employment opportunities and holistic education programs.

These Stylish Clothes Were Once Scraps On A Factory Floor

Faller’s goal is to fight back against some of the fashion industry’s biggest ills: textile waste and unjust labor practices. Tonlé, which is based in Cambodia and sells its products internationally, employs Cambodian women, pays them a fair wage and allows them to work reasonable hours ― and it makes all its clothing without sending a single scrap to landfills.

Brand Love : tonlé

tonlé designs and makes comfortable, wearable clothes that are as original and beautiful as the people who make them. We adhere to principles of transparency, fairness, and waste reduction in everything we do, from the big stuff like wages, down to the little things like the materials in our buttons.”

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