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.
https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/zero-waste-fashion-q-a-with-tonle/2019051743229

5 Women-Owned Companies Revolutionizing the Zero-Waste Movement

“Living in North America you can easily separate yourself; you don’t see landfills or trash being burned. You don’t see waste in the ocean,” Rachel Faller, founder of Tonlé, tells Teen Vogue. “In Cambodia, you see the influx of trash from the way corporations design and manufacture products.”
https://www.teenvogue.com/story/zero-waste-movement-women-owned-brands

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.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/style/article/Tonle-brings-zero-waste-women-s-fashion-to-13550039.php

With a pitch for crowd manufacturing, FranciePants wins Open Works’ EnterpRISE Venture competition

Founded by Francie Wasser, the company is creating 100 percent cotton underwear for females that is actually stylish and cute. But the true innovation comes from the unique manufacturing style, called “crowd manufacturing,” that provides women with access to training and certification so they can make the products in their home for a livable wage.
https://technical.ly/baltimore/2018/11/21/with-a-pitch-for-crowd-manufacturing-franciepants-wins-open-works-enterprise-venture-competition/

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.
https://theaseanpost.com/article/refashioning-fashion-industry

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.
https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/blogs/fashion-company-doing-something-about-textile-waste

Teysha Announces Collaboration with Shoe Designer Selena McCartney and The Whole Planet Foundation

Teysha, www.teysha.is 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.
http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3825962

From a Mile to A Million

Two 21-year-old fashion students, Inés Mille and Marc Collines, left the hallowed hallways of fashion in Barcelona and with just $9,000 in their pockets, traveled all the way to East Africa to set up shop in little-known Kigali in Rwanda, which at the time was building itself – a fully-fledged fashion industry was not yet on its radar.
https://www.forbesafrica.com/woman/2017/12/04/from-mille-to-a-million/

5 Companies That Are Redefining the Gift of Giving

“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.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5-companies-that-are-redefining-the-gift-of-giving_us_59763ca5e4b0940189700bb6

20 Years In The Making, A Personal Quest Led To A New Venture

“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.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2017/07/12/20-years-in-the-making-a-personal-quest-led-to-a-new-venture/#7369e43a69eb

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.
http://www.hivelocitymedia.com/founders/cethansmith092613.aspx

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.”
http://bangordailynews.com/2017/01/12/sports/maine-maritime-athletes-to-wear-100-percent-recycled-organic-uniforms/

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.
https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/faire-colleciton

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.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tonle-fashion-company-zero-waste-fair-labor-clothing-cambodia_us_57ee9e2de4b024a52d2eb366

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.”

https://www.mynewneighbour.ca/blog/brand-love-tonl

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

DayOne Response develops and supplies innovative solutions for disaster relief. One solution is the DayOne Waterbag, which is a lightweight reusable personal water treatment device that provides all the essential functions for water purification. According to co-founder Amy Cagle, DayOne Waterbags have been deployed in over 20 countries, and the company has provided over 7 million liters of clean water in less than a year.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Eccolizer aims to solve the food crisis in Bangladesh by providing low-cost bio-fertilizer prepared from sugarcane bagasse, which is normally considered a wastage and thrown away. “We have supplied our organic [product] to more than 10 districts (out of a total 64 districts of Bangladesh), serving around 500 farmers who have cultivated various types of crops and vegetables,” says co-founder Md. Shahidul Islam.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Wello’s mission is to effectively deliver clean water to a thirsty world. By reframing the water crisis as an opportunity, Wello has developed an innovative business model that empowers individuals to use the WaterWheel as an income-generating tool to lift their families out of poverty. The WaterWheel is an innovative water transportation tool designed to alleviate the problems associated with a lack of easy access to water. “We began selling the WaterWheel 2.5 in May,” says co-founder Cynthia Koenig. “In our first three months of sales, we will have shipped 1500+ WaterWheels across India, Pakistan, and Zambia, positively impacting more than 10,000 individuals to date.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Access Afya sells basic healthcare services and supplies via high-tech mini-clinics to poor Kenyans, whose current healthcare options are unpleasant, unreliable, or unaffordable. “The organization has proved that the poor will pay for healthcare if it is superior to the low-quality status quo and offered at a price point that is still affordable,” says CEO Melissa Menke. “We found that price ceiling to be around $5 per visit, and we have over 7,000 clients at this level.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Re-Nuble uses a proprietary process enabled by technology to convert food waste into a cheaper, highly sterile and stable, organic-based liquid fertilizer for the indoor agriculture industry. It’s focused on the commercialization of formulas and processes to turn bio-based materials into fertilizers for indoor growing systems. In doing so, Re-Nuble aims to create completely sustainable, closed loop food and plant production systems.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Juabar empowers off-grid Tanzanians with employment in the growing solar and mobile technology industries while filling a community energy need for mobile charging. “We used to organically go out and find new [local entrepreneurs] on our own but now as we’ve gotten smarter, we tap into existing networks of retailers and organizations working on economic and employment development to reach new customers,” says CEO Olivia Nava.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Estufa Doña Dora’s mission is to maximize access to efficient, clean, and safe wood-fired cooking devices for rural and peri-urban Guatemalan families. “Since 2012, over 1,000 families have decided to buy a Doña Dora stove, paying the market price,” says co-founder and CEO David Evitt. “That means a smoke-free kitchen for 5,042 people, 2,573 tons of CO2 emissions avoided per year, and an annual savings of $126,646 on firewood.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Gham Power provides Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems for residential & commercial buildings, bringing the highest quality solar technology to Nepal at affordable prices. “After the earthquake, we immediately began mobilizing our resources to provide solar lights and basic charging stations to relief workers, and to displaced individuals and families who are now living in tents and shelters,” says CEO Sandeep Giri. When Gham Power ran out of inventory, it started a funding campaign called Rebuild-With-Sun and raised $113,000 to purchase more supplies.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Evaptainers creates “zero energy” refrigeration systems using modular and mobile units to systemically reduce food spoilage in the developing world. “We are very proud to be on the ground in Morocco working with our country partners to bring this technology to market,” says CEO and co-founder Spencer Taylor. “Unlike other alternative refrigeration companies our product requires no electricity and is so lightweight and inexpensive that it allows us to bring a refrigeration solution to populations living on the other side of the electricity divide that have never before had access.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Atayne makes high performing outdoor and athletic apparel that is safe for people and the planet. They aim to inspire positive environmental and social change through the power of active lifestyles. “I would say one of the things I am most proud of is being recognized by B Lab as a Best for the World and Best for the Environment Company the last three years,” says co-founder Jeremy Litchfield.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Yellow Leaf Hammocks exists to empower the Hill tribe members in Thailand to rise out of poverty by creating stable, culturally sustainable, high wage weaving jobs. “We’ve grown to create work for more than 200 weavers so far and we have a waiting list of more people hoping to become weavers!” says co-founder Rachel Connors. “Perhaps most importantly, all of our weavers’ children can afford to attend school instead of working in the fields, [thereby] breaking the cycle of poverty with education [and] new opportunities for the next generation.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Back to the Roots was founded in 2009 by then college seniors Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora after they discovered how to grow gourmet mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds. Since then, Back to the Roots has evolved from urban mushroom farming to a thriving business on a mission to “undoing food” and reconnecting families to it through fun, delicious and sustainable “ready to grow” and “ready to eat” products. Back to the Roots products are now available in 14,000 retail locations including Target, Costco, Whole Foods, The Home Depot, Safeway, and several other retailers worldwide.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Toilets for People sells affordable and sustainable composting toilets, sanitation consulting services, and training in local capacity building to charity organizations serving communities living in the developing world where conventional sanitation solutions like pit latrines and flush toilets fail. Recently, the company successfully installed and is monitoring the usage of toilets in a Peruvian urban slum called Belen. The slum has a population of 70,000, and many of its inhabitants live in houses on stilts 20 feet in the air to avoid the Amazon River flood waters. Because of this, there are few hygienic toilets, and it’s one of the most challenging locals in the world to install proper sanitation.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Soupergirl serves fresh, homemade soup made with ingredients from small local farms. It serves sustainable soup for delivery or pickup and operates a storefront location in DC. “We’re proud of growing extensively over the past several years while staying true to our core values — cooking healthy, delicious, responsibly sourced food,” says owner Sara Polon. “We still have excellent relationships with a growing network of small, sustainable farms and we’re proud to support them and help them grow. It has not been easy, but it is well worth it.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

The long term objective of Sanergy is to build and scale viable sanitation infrastructure in the slums of Nairobi. The model involves four parts: (i) building a network of low-cost sanitation centers in slums, (ii) distributing them through franchising to local entrepreneurs, (iii) collecting the waste produced, and (iv) processing it into electricity and fertilizer. At each step, the model creates jobs and opportunity while simultaneously addressing serious social needs. “As of June 2015, we have a network of over 700 toilets run by 342 Fresh Life operators,” says communications manager Medora Brown. “Our network is used almost 30,000 times a day, and we remove more than seven metric tons of waste from the community every day. In total, we have removed and safely treated over 5,440 metric tons of waste. In the process, we have created over 725 high-quality jobs in an area where there is 40% unemployment.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Fuego del Sol Haiti collects, sorts, upcycles, and recycles waste products into usable products that allow it to tap into underutilized fuel resources in Haiti. It does this by producing ecologically friendly fuel briquettes to fight Haiti’s deadly charcoal addiction. It also designs, manufactures, and distributes the improved cookstoves and related technologies that connect ecological biomass cooking with Haitian culture and thus creates long-term living-wage jobs. According to Kevin Adair, Fuego del Sol Haiti has produced “over 100 tons of recycled non-carbonized Haiti-produced fuel briquettes and thus replaced the need of over 10,000 trees.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Wecyclers gives low-income communities in developing countries a chance to capture value from waste and clean up their neighborhoods through incentive-based recycling. “Since August 2012, Wecyclers has registered over 7,000 households for our collection service, built 25 operational collection cargo bikes and collected over 800 metric tons of recyclable materials,” says co-founder and CEO Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola.
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Maternova is a web-based global marketplace that tracks and sells goods services that impact the lives of mothers and newborns. They make it easy for doctors, nurses, and midwives to track innovation and to buy technologies and kits to use overseas. “What began as a single obstetric kit product sold domestically has grown organically by demand to include over 40 rigorously tested products, and we’re proud to call the Ministries of Health, the United Nations, and some of the largest NGOs our clients,” says VP and co-founder Allyson E Cote. “To date, we’ve help save the lives of over 180,000 women and newborns, and our global reach extends into over 170 countries.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Eqalix is developing the first plant-based skin substitute wound dressing; it will replace currently marketed products that are made from culturally sensitive sources (cadavers, embryonic materials, cows, pigs). Eqalix’s dressing can be sold at disruptive prices due to a cost structure that’s roughly 1/10 that of current products. “We have animal data showing that wounds dressed with OmegaSkin™ have resulted in about 1/3 less scarring, and actual restoration of skin appendages such as hair follicles and sweat glands, compared to control dressings,” says CEO Thomas Seoh. “By switching the source from human or animal tissues to soybeans (an inexpensive and ubiquitous food crop) and electrospinning (a well-characterized manufacturing process borrowed from the textile industry), we project unit costs roughly an order of magnitude lower than currently marketed products.”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/

22 of the Most Fascinating Social Good Startups Changing the World

Mozambikes is the first provider to build a bicycle industry and make bicycles a commodity in Mozambique. The unique advantage of Mozambikes lies in their model that provides bicycles of higher quality and lower prices to all provinces in Mozambique. They offer quality bicycles at a standard cost across all retail locations, regardless of proximity to an urban center, so that people can afford to buy a product that can improve their quality of life. “We employ over 15 workers,” says co-founder Lauren Thomas. “Our technicians in the warehouse generally lack formal education and would otherwise be minimum wage workers, but Mozambikes pays 2-5x minimum wage, gives bonuses (cell phones last year), and provides no-interest loans (we have helped 2 workers build a house)!”
https://thedailybanter.com/2015/06/22-of-the-most-fascinating-social-good-startups-changing-the-world/