「因為常規的大量生產行不通，我們現在找到了自己有效的升級改造方法，我們想再次在荷蘭生產，自80年代起我們就沒有再生產，當時所有生產設施都搬到了東歐和亞洲，這也意味著所有知識都消失了。Recovery Studio一開始都是被大家嘲笑，他們認為我們開設手工工作室是瘋了。」 Hul le Kes 的其中一位創辦人Sebastiaan憶述。
“Since the regular bulk production will not work, we now found our own efficient way of upcycling. We wanted to start up manufacturing in the Netherlands again, which we haven’t had anymore since the 80’s, at that time all production facilities were moved to Eastern Europe and Asia. That meant also all knowledge was gone. Recovery Studio was something everyone laughed at in the beginning, they thought we were crazy to start a handwork studio.” Sebastiaan, The co-founders of Hul le Kes, reminisced.
“People with mental and psychological problems (such as depression, anxiety disorder) come here to get used to a working atmosphere again. Most of them come from total isolation and follow a step by step program within our studio to get used to other people again and gain more self confidence. When a person starts a trajectory at the Recovery Studio they do not necessarily know how to mend or even stitch by hand. They start by learning the basics of mending, and during their program they will become better and better.
They repair textiles and clothes by hand; this type of work stimulates happiness hormones in your brain due to its tactility and almost meditative state of mind. As these people are very vulnerable we do not want to give them too much pressure. Of course there are deadlines, but we make sure they have more than enough time to finish a product in time and we do not tell them the exact deadline.”
“Our supervisors in the studio will make sure the deadlines are reached in time, they will also make sure the quality standards will be on the right level. We have three supervisors who all have knowledge from fashion making and handwork, but are at the same time social workers. Then we have about 45 people working at the Recovery Studio following a social and healthcare trajectory. In some cases a person only comes 4 hours a week, others come 4 days a week; that all depends on the status of their personal development.”
Hul le Kes Recovery Studio位於荷蘭阿納姆，靠近德國邊境的小城市，搭火車約一小時可到達阿姆斯特丹，或一小時可到達德國杜塞爾多夫。這是一個非常綠色的城市，擁有大量的自然景觀，工作室就位於一座前木材廠內，以前有鋸床的地方，現在可以找到縫紉機和手縫工人，工作室位於建築物的左側，而製作室就位於右側。在曾經是木材乾燥的閣樓，你會發現儲物室，充積了後消費的紡織廢料，如舊羊毛毯、床單等。
“People come to us with their beloved garments for a mending service or a dyeing service. Think of someone’s favorite dress with a tear in it, or a shirt with food stains. To our people it feels so worthy to give these beloved items a new life, but in some cases they also feel a little scared at first. But the people for whom they repaired the garment are always so thankful, and really see the amount of love and work they have put into it.
They see the mending as a good memory, as something they are proud of; like how people can look at a scar or a tattoo on their body for example. With that Sjaak and I are so happy, because that is exactly how we want them to feel. That is what we like to call the beauty of imperfection; it is the mending that gives the garment extra identity and makes it truly yours.”
Hul le Kes Recovery Studios are located in Arnhem, the Netherlands; a small city next to the German border. By train it is about one hour to Amsterdam, or one hour to Düsseldorf in Germany. It is a very green city with lots of nature which gives it a very comfortable atmosphere. Right outside the city center you will find our studios in a former wood mill, in a courtyard surrounded by housing. Where used to be the sewing machines you will now find our sewing machines and handworkers. On the left part of the building our Recovery Studio is located, and on the right our Manufacturing Studio. In what used to be the drying attic for wood you will find our storage; full with post-consumer textile waste such as old wool blankets, bedsheets and much more.
“Inside of our Recovery Studio, you will find the people working at antique and vintage furniture. We really wanted to give the people a home-like feeling, and we think beautiful things in your surroundings help to recover from mental problems a lot too.”
「我和Sjaak創立 Hul le Kes 時，確信我們希望透過多種方式改變這個系統，而不只是成為另一個因使用環保布料而自稱可持續的品牌；我們希望致力於教育、社會、循環性、將服裝製造業帶回西歐，當然還有我們的美學。
Hul le Kes成為今天的樣子，是因為我們以就整體的方式運作，與主流時尚體系相比，這是一個非常複雜的過程。努力了四年，成就了一個可行的系統，我們可以向業內其他公司展示這是可能的；不僅個人注意到，其他時尚公司也注意到了，他們現在向我們尋求升級改造和修復方面的合作。
“When Sjaak and I founded Hul le Kes, we were convinced that we wanted to change the system in many ways, rather than simply being another brand claiming to be sustainable based on the use of eco-friendly fabrics. We aimed to be committed to education, society, circularity, bringing clothing manufacturing back to Western Europe, and, of course, our aesthetics.
Hul le Kes is what it is today because we operate holistically, which is a very complicated process compared to the mainstream fashion system. Four years of hard work have resulted in a functional system that allows us to demonstrate to the rest of the industry that change is possible. We have not only captured the attention of individuals, but also other fashion companies. They now approach us for collaboration on upcycling and repairing.
One of our slogans is ‘Let’s change the system together’. ‘Together’ encompasses individuals who purchase our clothes or use our services, as well as collaborations with other fashion companies.”
除了重染服務，Hel le Kes的升級改造 Monet 和 Cremer 夾克，是他們的銷售第一，這些夾克由古著羊毛毯製成，人們可以透過網店挑選毯子，或寄來自己的，他們就會將毯子製成個人訂製的夾克。同樣，這些夾克也是人們談論永續發展的好話題。
Instead of dyeing service, Hel le Kes’s upcycled Monet and Cremer Jackets are their number one sellers. These jackets are made from vintage wool blankets. People can pick a blanket via the webshop, or send their own blanket, and they will make your personal, made to order, jacket from it. Again also these jackets are a good conversation piece for people to talk about sustainability.
When it comes to new policies by the government, Sebastiaan said, “Their intentions are very good, but the way they want to do so is still very much thought from an old-system mindset. That makes it in some ways unnecessarily difficult for us to develop what we want.
For example they will start to charge extra environmental taxes in the Netherlands on all new clothes a company produces. But second hand products are most often free of VAT (because VAT was already charged with its first purchase when the product was still new). Repair services are in the lowest VAT category. Upcycled clothes do not fit in any of these boxes, and therefore the government sees them as new clothes; charging the high VAT category and additional environmental taxes.
Which is very strange as the materials we use are thrown away, second hand; and VAT was already charged at this product in the very beginning. But the government sees it as a full new product. I think the least that the government could do is make upcycling in the same category as repair, so in the lowest amount of VAT and skip the environmental taxes. By doing so a new garment will be more expensive compared to an upcycled garment; making it much more interesting for consumers to buy upcycled clothes instead of a new garment.
But luckily for us the Dutch politicians have noticed us, and are very much willing to listen to us; so we are going in the right direction.”