Zero Waste Fashion Is Possible: A Celebration of Tonle

SponsoredTonle zero waste ethical fashion stylewise-blog.comTonle zero waste ethical fashion stylewise-blog.comTonle zero waste ethical fashion
Ethical Details: Top - thrifted; Pants - Srey Pov Trousers - Krama c/o Tonle; Sandals - Deux Mains

It's been my unofficial policy on StyleWise to request only one or two products for review when I take on sponsored collaborations. It's not that I don't want lots of shiny new things, it's just that my closet could quickly spiral out of control if I acquired dozens of things each month. But I have to say, I am SO glad Rachel at Tonle sent me three varied products to try, because it gave me a sense of the way Tonle's zero waste pieces function as stand-alones and as part of a collection.

And I've gotta say I am really feeling myself in these pieces. They embody the balance of form and function I look for, and the purposeful silhouettes help create a fit that feels custom.

The Srey Pov Trousers

Made of a lightweight cotton, the limited edition Srey Pov trousers feature flared legs and a drawstring waist with elastic at the back. The front drawstring can be adjusted for the correct fit, then left tied when you're ready to remove them since the back stretches, which helps create a custom fit. I'm wearing the trousers in a size medium, which fits my butt perfectly without pulling.
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Ethical Details: Dress - Pich Wrap Dress - Navy Diamonds c/o Tonle; Sandals and Necklace - thrifted

Why I'm a Tonle Super Fan

Tonle is a fair trade, zero waste fashion brand based in Cambodia.
  • They produce their entire collection out of remnant materials from larger factories
  • They strategically cut patterns to reduce waste
  • They sew scraps into "yarn" to produce woven clothing
  • Remaining scraps that are too small for yarn are combined with paper and natural glue to make hang tags
  • Employees are honored and paid fairly
  • Natural dyes are used on all textiles dyed in-house
  • Orders are shipped in 100% recycled packaging
  • Tonle uses local models and women of color in their advertising and product photos

Every. single. thing. has been accounted for in Tonle's business model. And their clothes are statement-making without being unwearable or unflattering.

The Pich Wrap Dress

Made with a stretch cotton that's both durable and soft, the Pich Wrap Dress has a vintage-inspired neckline and a customizable fit thanks to the wrap silhouette. I'm wearing a size small and the fit is just right.
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Ethical Details: Top - Srey Crop Top - Granite c/o Tonle; Jeans - Everlane Cheeky Straight Jean; Sandals - thrifted

The Srey Crop Top

One of Tonle's signature woven pieces, the crop top has a wide, asymmetrical fit and is made with handwoven fabric scrap "yarn," which makes the piece feel much more like wearable art than mere clothing. It's classy and classic in spite of how off-kilter it's origin may be, and I feel really beautiful in it.

Final Thoughts

Tonle sets the standard for functional, fashion-forward clothing that is authentically sustainable, ethical, and eco-friendly. You don't need a Master's Degree to get what they're all about - it's clear as day. This is the type of transparency and thoughtfulness that leads to industry change, because it doesn't require explaining, finagling, or excuses. It is good, plain and simple. 

How refreshing to know - really know - that something is good. No fake news, no slick marketing. Just good.

Shop Tonle here. 

Tonle zero waste ethical fashion

the moral wardrobe: Hands Producing Hope Shalom necklace

hands producing hope shalom necklace
hands producing hope shalom necklace

Hands Producing Hope is an accessories company with a mission to support marginalized women in Costa Rica through dignified work, life skills courses, and spiritual guidance. They sent me this beautiful Shalom necklace to review and it's become a fast favorite. 

The Shalom necklace is made of glass beads and seeds from the Ojo de Buey ("eye of the bull," part of the legume family) and Jaboncillo harvested by the artisans. I like that it's an organic twist on a statement necklace, plus the neutral tone makes it versatile. I wore it four days in a row when I first got it!

fair trade jewelry
fair trade outfit
Ethical Details: Top - c/o Tonle; Skirt - secondhand via thredup; Necklace - c/o Hands Producing Hope

I reached out to founder, Rebecca Gardner, for a behind-the-scenes interview about the daily running of Hands Producing Hope. I've included a few of her answers below (you'll see the rest Wednesday).

What does a day in the life of an artisan look like at Hands Producing Hope? 

The days of our artisans vary quite a bit because we work with women ranging from high school students to grandmas! Most of their days start soon after the sun rises, begins with either getting their own children ready for school or getting themselves ready for school. Soon after waking up they begin making the fire that will likely be burning during the entire day. Rice is a fairly normal breakfast or at times it is some form of meat if the family has recently slaughtered a chicken or pig (with no refrigeration, meat needs to be cooked right away and then consumed fairly quickly).

The women work on their jewelry or headband assignments throughout the day as they have time. This often happens while babies are napping, beans are cooking or kids are in school. Having the flexibility to work any time during the day or even not work on day and just do more work another is key for the women in our program, as many of them have many other responsibilities with their families! Often families have houses near each other and so sisters, cousins and in laws will get together during the day to work together and just spend some time socializing. If there is a soccer game on, you are sure to find a large crowd at the nearest house with a TV that evening. While this isn't an exact representation of what every day looks like for the women in our program, I hope this gives you a glimpse into their daily lives!

How do you select materials for your goods? Who designs them? 

We love utilizing local, natural materials. We also love the contrast of a beautiful metal beside a hand picked seed. Our products include materials found in the artisans local village, a near by town, and around the world. The designs are a collaboration between myself and our awesome board member/product design extraordinaire Emily Duke. We often pull designs from traditional Guaymi patterns and styles!

Make sure to check back this Wednesday to learn more about Hands Producing Hope and enter to win your own Shalom necklace!


Check out Hands Producing Hope on facebook, twitter, and instagram. Shop here

spring update


Hey! It's snowing again, so it's a great time to talk about warm weather clothing (snow, snow, go away!).

This whole minimalism thing works out really well for those interested in sustainability and fair trade, because it means we can look on trend while making more thoughtful purchases. I'm sure the pendulum will swing back to flamboyant soon enough, but I'm hoping I can get comfortable with simplicity now while fashion culture is on my side. By getting a sort of uniform down now, I'll be less likely to be swayed by trend cycles later.

This spring/summer season, I'm looking to get a new dress from zero waste brand, Tonle, and keep everything else neutral. I want a couple pairs of versatile, season-less flats and understated sandals from Jerusalem Sandals. I'm also updating my ribbon collection for my Sseko sandals. I found a pair of jeans in my donate pile yesterday that fit me well and were barely worn, so my denim wants are taken care of (thanks, slight weight gain!).

I'm relying more and more on Everlane for t-shirts and small, sustainable labels for skirts and accessories. And there's always the thrift shop!

I'm brainstorming new features and topics for Style Wise in all my snow day spare time. Is there anything you'd like to know more about? I'd be happy to receive a prompt and do some research!

Ethical Items shown above: Everlane Tee, Everlane Striped Top, Nomads Cardigan (similar option here), Amour Vert Leeron Skirt, Curator Nora Skirt, Tonle Keang Dress, Similar Loafers, Similar Flats, Jerusalem Sandals, Sseko Ribbons

ethical gifting: tonle for valentine's day

gift box

So, I kind of hate the word, "gifting," but its specificity makes it awfully convenient.  However, I love gifts, so I'm quite excited to share Tonle's Valentine's Day Gift Box, which they've put together in collaboration with several other socially responsible companies.

You may recall from my post earlier this week that Tonle is a zero waste, fair trade company based in Cambodia. I think their commitment to fair wages and environmental sustainability represents the end goal for the fair trade movement, so I'm glad they're setting an example for everyone else.

valentines day gift

The box contains coconut oil scrub by Coco Khmer, Remy & Rose soap, 3 pairs of Tonle panties, and a Tonle necklace made of remnant fabric and locally sourced beads, wrapped up in packaging handmade by artisans at Dai Khmer. It also comes with a handmade card! Visit the site for more details on the companies involved.

The gift box's retail value is $88.00, but it's available for a limited time for $65.00 on Tonle's website, so grab one early.

all natural coconut oil
All photos courtesy of Tonle.

the moral wardrobe: zero waste brand, tonle

tonle tee

It was way too cold to be outside taking photos today, so I basically just snapped a couple before (literally) running inside. I'm sure I'll get a chance to feature my new tonle tee in better detail in the spring, but I wanted to make sure to tell you a bit more about the brand since they just started shipping to the United States.

zero waste clothing
fair trade blogger
Ethical Details: Top - c/o tonle; Coat - thrifted; Earrings - Mata Traders; Cardigan - old

Tonle is a zero waste, fair trade clothing company based in Cambodia. They're passionate about long term sustainability, so they use remnant materials and cut patterns carefully to ensure that minimal scrap fabric is generated. Scraps are then re-woven into yarn and used again. They're serious about the details, so all packaging is made out of 100% recycled materials, their all natural dyes are non-toxic, and notions (buttons, zippers, etc.) are either made sustainably or purchased from garment factory overstock. It's really incredible! They also provide living wages to their talented team.

Tonle sent me this comfy keang top. It's made of super soft knit cotton and has a boxy, cropped fit for a modern silhouette. I also appreciate the understated rope graphic.

This post is rather timely since ecouttere just made me aware of a Norwegian documentary series featuring fashion bloggers sent to Cambodia to see firsthand where their clothes come from. It's a fascinating peek into Norwegian and Cambodian cultures and the global fast fashion industry. You can watch it here.

Stay tuned for more information on tonle. In the meantime, check them out on facebook, instagram, and twitter.