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Sjaak Hullekes wins Cultuurprijs Arnhem

January 27, 2024

Yesterday (Friday January 26) Hul le Kes’ creative director Sjaak Hullekes was honored with the Cultuurprijs Arnhem during the Uitnacht Arnhem for his meaningful contributions to Arnhem’s cultural scene. After the words by the alderman of Culture in Arnhem, Cathelijne Bouwkamp, in which she talked about the importance of art, culture and design during these times; she announced Sjaak Hullekes as being this year’s winner. We are overjoyed with pride for our creative director receiving this recognition from the city of Arnhem.

The Cultuurprijs Arnhem is an annual award given to a person or organization contributing to the cultural scene in Arnhem. In the words of the jury, told by the jury’s chairman, Jan Westerhof:

“Crafting uniqueness from the past is at the core of Hul le Kes. Each garment, a distinctive creation, emerges from surplus materials and fabrics uncovered in flea markets. The Arnhem-based label employs sustainable resources like avocado pits, onion skins, coffee, tea, apples, and chestnuts for garment dyeing. Beyond the Hul le Kes label, the Hul le Kes Recovery Studio serves as both a crafting atelier for clothing and a nurturing space for individuals. The jury commends Sjaak Hullekes for gracefully aligning with contemporary trends, adapting his style with finesse. As a fashion designer, his unique approach, innovative perspective on fashion, and societal dedication make a lasting impression on the Dutch fashion landscape.”

Other jury members were: Inge Pollet, Mirte Engelhard, Nelleke Verweij and Mascha Halberstad. Previous winners have been: Maison the Faux, Louise te Poule, Mirte Engelhard among many others. The full jury report about Sjaak Hullekes is as follows under the video below:

Sjaak Hullekes – Four years after graduating from ArtEZ University, Hullekes clinched the Dutch Fashion Award in 2009. In 2011, he inaugurated his first boutique in Arnhem.

Disposing of garments once they lose their perfection is a practice we should truly abandon. “You can repair them, dye them, or embrace their impermanence, just don’t discard them,” believes Sjaak Hullekes. In collaboration with partner Sebastiaan Kramer, they introduced the Hul le Kes label to the market in 2018. Initially through pop-up stores and, since last year, from the upper floor of an industrial building on Wezenstraat in downtown Arnhem. Transforming the old into something new is the essence of Hul le Kes. Each garment is a unique creation, crafted from surplus materials and fabrics sourced from flea markets.

Colors are crafted using organic waste. Garments are dyed with sustainable materials such as avocado pits, onion skins, coffee, tea, apples, and chestnuts. Sometimes, garments undergo the dyeing process up to four times, enhancing the richness of colors and resulting in beautiful, marbled hues.

In addition to the Hul le Kes label, there exists the Hul le Kes Recovery Studio. It serves as both a clothing repair workshop and a space for personal development. In the studio, clothes are mended, but it also provides a workspace where individuals can work on themselves, recover at their own pace, and grow.

At Hul le Kes, the emphasis is on the imperfection and spirit of garments. This not only imparts character to the clothing but also renders each piece unique. The jury admires how Sjaak Hullekes gracefully aligns with current trends, adapting his style accordingly. As many times as he has relocated within Arnhem, he has reinvented himself with equal frequency.

He is a fashion designer whose distinctive style, innovative approach to fashion, and societal commitment have left an impressive impact on the fashion landscape in the Netherlands.

Pictures by Jess Campbell (multicolor pictures) and Scott van Kampen Wieling (black/white picture)


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