We don't blog every time we get a new maker in the store, but Tonlé is a special case. Rachel Faller is a Burlington native, and she founded the company after going to Cambodia on a Fulbright Fellowship to study fashion practices during college. Not surprisingly, Rachel found sweatshop labor, women in danger of ending up trafficked, and cheap goods being produced to be sold in other countries at outrageous markups for huge profits.
Rachel founded Tonlé to be a different kind of fashion company: she obtains remnant fabrics from other garment factories; she rejects the piecework and assembly line models that keep workers from learning multiple transferable skills; she pays fair wages that help keep the women who work for her out of the sex trade; she pursues a zero waste policy in the making of Tonlé garments for maximum sustainability. Rachel and Tonlé are at the forefront of a movement known as slow fashion or ethical fashion.
The results of Rachel's work, as you can see in the photo above (photo credit: Tonlé Design) and purchase for yourself here with us, are both beautiful and sustainable. They are meaningful and affordable. I am so pleased and proud to be working with Rachel and Tonlé and to have them in the store.