As the world continues to get more polluted and crowded, there are some hidden gems out there attempting to solve some our worst issues with waste and the exploitation of workers in developing countries.  Tonlé, a Cambodian-based company, has come up with an apparel line created by remnant scraps left by large textile companies while employing local women at fair wages.

The company sells its products internationally, and not only pays its workers a fair wage, but also allows them to work reasonable hours ― and uses every single scrap to make its shirts, dresses and pants. The Huffington Post recently interviewed Tonlé founder Rachel Faller, who shared it’s company philosophy with reporter Sarah Ruiz-Grossman.

Industry experts estimate that anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of material used to produce clothing ends up “on the cutting room floor” because it’s cheaper to toss than recycle, according to The New York Times. Large manufacturers might deem these scraps unusable because they look damaged or too small.

When companies’ rejected cuttings are dumped in landfills, they decompose and release greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming.

The concept of repurposing leftover materials with zero waste should be an important indicator to the fashion and textile industry about opportunities to develop new categories of fashion and apparel.

Tonle Design worker

Tonle Design worker