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An old sawmill in Arnhem houses the studio of Hul le Kes, a brand founded by Sjaak Hullekes and Sebastiaan Kramer.

When we enter the studio we immediately feel the enthusiasm and passion. A little later both men - under the watchful eye of their dog Abby - thoughtfully tell their story. 'Throwing away garments as soon as they are no longer perfect is something we should really stop doing. You can repair them, paint them or embrace their impermanence, as long as you don't throw them away', says Sjaak Hullekes. Turning something old into something new, that's where Hul le Kes' focus is. In addition, the brand is also their counter to the current fashion system. 


With their label, they want to do things differently, more sustainably. Their story is primarily a plea for inertia. For example, the Arnhem-based brand does not have any fabrics produced; they only use leftover lots. The studio is full of hundred-year-old sheets and antique table linen. They scour auctions and flea markets in France, Germany and Italy.


Those old French tablecloths make Hullekes happy. 'Such a fabric has had a life, has imperfection. On some sheets, initials are sewn.' His own closet is largely filled with second-hand clothes, and that is also a type of sustainable buying. 'I often have stains or holes in my clothes.'


'Use fashion to dress your soul, not your ego' – Sjaak Hullekes


The love of imperfection is also seen in the colours, which are created by using organic waste. The garments are dyed with sustainable raw materials such as avocado seeds, onion peels, coffee, tea, apples and chestnuts. Sometimes items go into a dye bath as many as four times, the staining process getting stronger. This creates beautiful, marble-like colours, each item looks different. The dyeing itself is done in the courtyard, in large black tubs. 


Each item is accompanied by a Hul le Kes passport, with information about the garment such as product name and composition. In addition, the handmade booklet allows you to keep track of when you have worn the garment, how the first hole occurred and so on. Does the color of your garment fade? No worries, Hul le Kes has a so-called dyeing service, so the piece can simply be re-dyed.


In addition to their label Hul le Kes, they also run the Hul le Kes Recovery Studio, a crafts studio for clothes ánd people. Torn clothes are being repaired and by the soothing handiwork people who are suffering from a burn-out for example get the chance to recover. In short, Hul le Kes is all about imperfection and the inspiration behind garments. And that makes their clothing - as far as we are concerned - not only full of character but also extremely interesting. 

All Hul le Kes items are made at Studio RYN in Arnhem.