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who we are
We are a maker-led community. We value inclusivity, honesty, and reciprocity. Our business is more than the garments you can purchase on our site, made out of reclaimed materials by talented makers and designers from all parts of the world. It is about creating a purposeful future for fashion: one that is restorative, regenerative, and just. We strive for circularity and climate justice to mitigate the fashion industry’s devastating impact on the planet, and we intend to further our mission with our expanded platform.
what we do
tonlé started out as a single brand and manufacturer aiming to demonstrate that making clothes out of waste and utilizing every single scrap could be a reality. In 2008, no one thought this was possible and fast fashion had just started to take off thanks to large brands capitalizing off the recession. Despite many obstacles, over the last 15 years, the tonlé team realized many of their initial dreams and diverted over ½ million pounds of textiles from going to waste.
The last few years have been challenging for customers, makers, and small businesses alike, and we have to adapt to be resilient. Not much is changing with our core production, but we aim for more collaborative work through our expanded online platform. We’re proud of what we’ve built and we want to share our knowledge and skills with a larger community than ever before.
tonlé today is a collaborative online platform showcasing our own ethically made products as well as the wares of other designer-makers who value climate justice and fairness. In this space, you can find apparel, accessories, and homewares from reclaimed materials made by talented makers and designers from all parts of the world including many founding members of our team. Our vision is for a world where brands, designers, makers, business leaders, and funders work together toward mutual flourishing, instead of competing or monopolizing.
We are also dedicated to providing resources and support to emerging creatives, especially those who are outside of the traditional purview of global north fashion weeks. We directly champion the design of creators who are inspired by their own cultures instead of those working through a lens of colonialism.
We know that collaboration is the only chance we have to stand for our values against an increasingly hostile climate of extractive capitalism.
why we do it
Fashion isn’t just. The modern fashion industry is one of the most exploitative industries in the world for both people and planet. It has been designed to create wealth for a select few while the vast majority of fashion workers pay the price. tonlé is leading a new circular fashion ecosystem designed to protect and support the people who work on our clothing and the earth we all live on. learn more about fashion justice here.
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"Because tonlé is both a brand and a manufacturer, its situation is unique. tonlé management is intimately familiar with where its products are produced, and the people making them...so it's hard not to think: how could a social compliance audit ever do justice to the tonle community? Because the ultimate testament, the ultimately proof, of tonle's responsibility and authenticity, is its community. That's the thing about tonle: the community is for tonle, by tonle. It's not a performance for someone else's benefit, it wasn't designed to tick a box (though boxes it certainly does tick). Tonle marches to the beat of its own drum, one where integrity comes first and appearances come second.”
- Kim Van Der Weerd, former tonlé COO and current host of Manufactured Podcast
"tonlé's environment rating is 'great'. It uses a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including recycled materials. It makes its products by hand to reduce its climate impact. It reuses all of its offcuts to minimise textile waste. Its use of eco-friendly materials limits the amount of water used in production.
Its labour rating is 'great'. It traces all of its supply chain. It ensures payment of a living wage in the final stage of production. It visits its suppliers regularly.
tonlé is rated 'Great' overall."