Cambodia is among the most popular locations for the sourcing of fast fashion garments and accessories because of their reduced labor costs. *There are approximately 600 factories in Cambodia alone who produce clothing and shoes for major brands such as H&M, Adidas and C&A. However, low cost means low regulation which can then lead to exploitation. In what is the country's largest informal employment sector, workers are subjected to forced overtime and poor working conditions in factories. Not to mention, there are increased rates of cancer, silicosis, asthma, dermatitis, and lead poisoning in these garment factory workers, as they are repeatedly exposed to dangerous chemicals without proper protective gear or ventilation.
Additionally, standard textile manufacturing, dyeing, and disposal is incredibly harmful to our bodies and our planet. *For example, in China alone, factories have polluted 70% of their rivers, lakes, and reservoirs to the point where they are unsafe for human use. Textile dyeing and treatment account for 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution, contaminating our water supplies with 72 toxic chemicals. Of those 72 chemicals, 30 cannot be removed. When waste materials are incinerated or dumped in the ground, they have devastating environmental consequences. Harmful cancer causing chemicals and solvents leak out of heavily treated materials and into water sources. Methane, a significant contributor to global warming, is released into the air from decomposing fabrics. It was clear we wanted to work with a zero-waste factory who was working to remedy these horrific statistics and help us create a more delightful existence for our planet and its people.
We heard about the zero-waste factory, Tonlé, long before Trove started. We knew about their revered production practices and remarkable impact not only in the garment industry, but on the planet. It was just a matter of time before we could link up to start creating even more beautiful, sustainable clothing together.
The journey of our products begins in an unlikely place: a heaping pile of factory scrap material. Tonlé’s design team frequents the remnant material markets to scavenge through piles of factory castoffs before they end up in landfills. Creativity is key, as size, color, texture, and material continually vary. The excess fabric strips are tediously hand cut and individually sewn back into yarn. The yarn is then knit and woven into new pieces; articles of clothing made from twice-recycled fabric. Working in this fashion leaves 2-3% waste, which is pretty good, considering a typical factory can average 40%.