Rachel Faller was one of my first students here at BHS. She was delightful to have as a student because she was not only academically gifted, but a talented artist. Rachel also stood out from the crowd because she was so personally motivated. She always questioned the norm and thought about others. Rachel studied art at Maryland College of Art and Design and received a Fulbright Scholarship. Here is a wonderful video from her Kickstarter Campaign and information about her company.
A zero-waste fashion label producing in Cambodia. We design comfortable, wearable clothes that are as unique as their makers.
What is tonlé?
tonlé is an innovative fashion label based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We design and produce sustainable, 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. We’ve spent years crafting a zero-waste design process that incorporates leftover scraps of recycled materials into original looks. Our workshops on the ground in Cambodia are structured in small teams, where staff work on a variety of different products, contributing creatively in a positive working environment while earning fair wages and benefits. In a constantly shrinking world, we believe you need the people who make your clothes as much as they need you, and we aim to connect people on opposite ends of the supply chain through our transparent policies and marketing.
Here is a note from Rachel:
6 years ago, when I started my first fashion label, KeoK’jay, I had no idea that this small dream of employing a few women at home in Cambodia could grow to what it is now; a full fledged fashion label with 50 beloved team members, a dedicated international following, and a new name, tonlé. I am deeply humbled by this progress, and the fact that we could not have done this without the support of so many of you, or our amazing team here. tonlé has certainly been a labor of love, and I’m very grateful for all the people who have participated in this process.
After overcoming the challenges of starting a business in Cambodia and getting our team set up for success, I am finally ready to return to the US and share what I have been working on for the past five years with YOU, the people who have been my greatest supporters. In November I will be relocating to San Francisco to set up a distribution center so that US consumers can purchase tonlé products online, and eventually through other channels. Tapping into a new market means the ability to hire more sewers, dyers, and weavers. It means recycling more remnant materials before they clog landfills. It means connecting more people on opposite sides of the world who, whether they realize it or not, equally rely on each other.
In order to do this, we’ve just launched a campaign on kickstarter to help cover the costs associated with expanding into a new continent. We’re so excited about the potential growth that this next chapter will bring, but we can’t do it alone. On behalf of the entire tonlé staff, please join us in spreading the word. Every dollar, tweet, facebook share etc. is immensely appreciated and will help us reach our goal of expanding our distribution and opening up more life-changing job opportunities in Cambodia. We’ve put extensive thought and consideration into the rewards being offered to add value to your contributions and to share a piece of our story with you. And to those of you who have already backed us or shared this project, I can't thank you enough!
I am infinitely appreciative of your love and support throughout the years, and know that I would not have been able to grow the company to where it is today without you. I hope you’ll join the team and myself on this endeavor and I look forward to seeing many of you back in the US!
Here is the link to the project:
Christina Chang teaches art and design to students in grades 9-12.