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2023 Reflections & 2024 Anticipations: A Year of Milestones for Hul le Kes

December 30, 2023

Now the final weekend of 2023 has started, we thought it would be time to look back at 2023 and have a first look at 2024. A last post for 2023, and therewith we would like to wish all of you a wonderful new year! But before we finish our year; take a look back with us to a year filled with beautiful surprises.

Expanding our social mission

The year of 2023 started with many new people working at our studios. As per January ‘23 we welcomed the former Studio 3 employees and assistant workers at our place for a first try out period to fully integrate this social enterprise within our company. After a successful period of nine months we decided to integrate Studio 3 into the Hul le Kes Recovery Studio. Since October ‘23 we now are able to welcome almost 50 people per week for one of the social trajectories at both the Hul le Kes Recovery Studio and the Manufacturing Studio.

Yes indeed; also our Manufacturing Studio is growing its number of people with a distance to the labor market. Like refugees which are living on one of the refugee shelter boats in Arnhem, which found their way to our studio in 2023. 

International growth

2023 was the first year we had our own private showrooms during Paris Fashion Week, and the first year to be part of the Pitti Uomo trade fair in Florence; last June. Two big steps into our path towards international growth. This means that we can welcome new Hul le Kes resellers in 2024, such as: Avart (Lugano, Switzerland), Duka Moodstore (Brugge, Belgium), Nico Nico (The Hague, Netherlands) and Vandaan Fashion (Zaltbommel, Netherlands) next to our existing group of resellers. And we are looking forward to expanding our number of resellers in 2024 as we already have many appointments for our new wholesale season, starting on the 9th of January in Florence.

Besides that we had a very nice Hul le Kes event at our reseller Stijl in Brussels last September and were part of the Heimtextil Forecasting stand in January last year. Also we have started our collaboration with FabricAID in Lebanon, where we have been in July last year to examine their students. For 2024 we are looking forward to more international events!

Opening our Hul le Kes Store

By opening the Hul le Kes Store last June we have been able to make our clothes and vision more available for our customers, supporters and wearers. In the past six months we welcomed people from all over the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. It is an honor to see people come to Arnhem specially to see our clothes and support us in our missions. Did you know that there are many unique pieces of clothing which are only available in our physical store, and not online?

We also organized a couple of events at the Hul le Kes Store, such as our Dyeing Events and the Kruid-tot-kleur event together with Fibershed Netherlands, Roua Atelier and Wilder Land. Next to that we have had stylists and photographers renting our store for their photoshoots too. And we introduced new products at our store, such as our Guggenheim Coat, Guggenheim Mittens, the Yumeko x Hul le Kes treasure pouch, the Pollock Furoshiki Wraps and many other products. Like our best seller this year; the Monet Skirt.

Open Studios

2023 was also the year in which we started with our Open Studio’s, of which two took place this year. We welcomed over 300 people at our Open Studio’s to whom we could show our way of working in social and environmental terms.

Due to the huge success we have already planned the next Open Studio, taking place on March 1st, 2024. You can register to come to our Open Studio via our webshop. New is the option to give a small donation to our social work; an option we added after our previous visitors asked for it.

Dyeing Events and education

We have done a lot of natural dyes again in 2023. From our own Dyeing Events to special Business to Business Dyeing Events for (fashion) companies and governmental organizations. Like a Dyeing Event for the people working at Stichting Doen, during the Night of the City in Arnhem, at Museum Arnhem and for the students of our educational partner Rijn IJssel.

To continue about education: in 2023 we have been teaching children and young adults during one of our many lectures and workshops. Many of them for Rijn IJssel, but also other educational organizations in the Netherlands, and the Weekend School. Also a new Dyeing Event for 2024 is already set, book your ticket via our webshop.

Projects in 2023 & collaborations

Then there are so many projects and developments we did not even mention. Like the many coverages in press for example, or Jennifer Hoffman wearing Hul le Kes, or our collaboration with Yumeko. 2023 has been a very busy year, but a year worth working for. We have seen many happy people and have been able to upcycle lots of thrown-away textiles. And our Creative Director Sjaak Hullekes became one of the three nominees for the Cultuurprijs Arnhem; for his significant contribution to the cultural environment in the city of Arnhem.

Although one cannot close its eyes for the wars going on in Ukraine and in Israel/Gaza or at the results of global warming we have seen in the past year; we hope that Hul le Kes can show you that there is hope for a more inclusive and sustainable future. Let’s work on that together also for the upcoming year(s)!

Thanks to…

Of course Hul le Kes cannot achieve everything by itself. We are very thankful for the support of our wearers, supporters and customers. For our stakeholders Driestroom, Scalabor, Rijn IJssel and 2Switch. For our sponsors Rabobank Foundation, Stichting Doen and the municipality of Arnhem. For Deloitte who is supporting us with their knowledge and also for our Advisory board (Ine van Burgsteden, Adriaan Luteijn and Peter Hobbelen) who have been investing so much of their time and knowledge in Hul le Kes.

Last but not least we would like to thank all Hul le Kes employees, assistants and interns for their contribution to the company. We can only grow our impact because of our great teamwork! Last week we have had a beautiful and delicious Christmas lunch together with all of our colleagues; a perfect way to end 2023.

Starting a new year

With such a great year behind us, we can only wish 2024 to become as beautiful too. Luckily we can start off the year with our first international events; the trade show Pitti Uomo, Paris Men’s Fashion Week, Paris Women’s Fashion Week and international Dyeing Events for several fashion businesses. A new delivery of Hul le Kes products in February and March.

And don’t forget about our upcoming Open Studio and Dyeing Event in March next year! Or to subscribe yourself to our newsletter to be fully up to date about what Hul le Kes does. We love to see you in 2024 again!

pictures in this news post have been made by Scott van Kampen Wieling, Jess Campbell and our employees.


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