OUR STORY



ReCreate was never intended to be a clothing brand. It simply began as an idea to provide fair employment for women in the marginalised community of Dey Tmey, Cambodia. Our founder, Erica Gadsby, saw this need after volunteering in the community over a number of years. Upon returning home to New Zealand, conversation with friends brought about plans to start a sewing workshop. 

Today, the ReCreate team is led by Erica as business director, together with Marielle van de Ven as creative director. Every year we provide opportunities for training and personal development within our Dey Tmey workshop and through our production partners in Cambodia, empowering people to provide for themselves, their families and their futures. Every purchase you make has an impact — not only creating change within the fashion industry, but transforming the lives of the people who make your clothing.




The people of Dey Tmey were originally slum dwellers who lived in the capital city of Phnom Penh. In 2007, in efforts to improve tourism in Cambodia, the authorities evicted many slum dwellers into rural sites called relocation areas. One of these areas was Dey Tmey, meaning "New Land". As this relocation area was far from their former jobs and schools, the people quickly found themselves in desperate situations with little opportunity for employment or education. Income was found through prostitution, drugs, washing clothes and selling food. Children were kept home from school to collect rubbish, watch siblings, or in the worst cases sold for slave labour or to brothels. As the years passed the community developed, however opportunities for women to find rightful employment remained scarce. So in 2013, when the ReCreate workshop was launched, the first intake of students began their journey of learning a new skill in order to transform their lives. 



Sompoa previously had employment in a nearby factory where the typical work week was 60 hours and she faced issues such as unfair pay and unhealthy working conditions. Her work was monotonous, performing the same task over and over. When Sompoa heard about the opportunity to work with ReCreate, she was excited to have the chance to develop a skill. However with only a Year Four primary education and unable to read or write, she was fearful of her ability to learn. Under the guidance of our sewing trainer, Sompoa slowly gained confidence and thrived as she received sewing instruction as well as literacy training, growing in skill as the months passed. Today Sompoa is our team leader and trains new students in all that she has learned. Her husband, Hiet, received training in sewing as well as machine repair and is employed alongside his wife in our workshop. They now have three children, each of them attending the local school. They also own a beautiful home in the community.

ReCreate exists to create positive change in the lives of people like Sompoa. Our vision is see 1000 lives transformed through the ethical production of our garments. With your support, we will not only see this happen, but we will also see essential change within the fashion industry.