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The social mission of Hul le Kes in practice

April 5, 2023

Since January 1, we have given our social mission an extra boost by merging the social learning and workplace ‘Studio 3’ with our Manufacturing Studio and Recovery Studio. As a result, we now have room for 30 extra people who, for various reasons, (temporarily) cannot participate in a regular work rhythm. In addition to these extra places, we are also creating more career opportunities for our (assistent) employees. In this blog post you can read about the experiences of employees Suzanne, Carla and Cheyenne and how this merger has worked out for them.

(Lees dit artikel in het Nederlands)


A friend of Suzanne’s had said to her after seeing a video about the Recovery Studio: “That’s really a place for you!”. Suzanne is a visual artist and has her own studio where she works with textiles. With the support of Activerend Werk van Driestroom, she found the peace she needed with the handiwork at the Recovery Studio and discovered new inspiring handicraft techniques. This year Suzanne moved on to the Manufacturing Studio. “There is much more activity here, I can work together on products with a sustainable mission and I get to know the fascinating dyeing process. I am a color person and the nuances are so beautiful. Every piece of clothing is unique.”

“Being part of a greater whole inspires and nourishes me.
– Suzanne

What does working at Hul le Kes bring her? Suzanne: “I learned to work with soft deadlines again. With the transition from the Recovery Studio to the Manufacturing Studio and the merger with Studio 3, a lot came at me, but I am strengthened. We are really part of the entire manufacturing process. Being part of a greater whole inspires and nourishes me. In my own work I let myself be guided by the material and colors and I create new images. Here I work with clear guidelines. Walking along and being part of a bigger picture is also quite a challenge for me. Here I get an insight into how it all has to be done, how a creative process arises and how it proceeds. This also encourages me to do more things at home.”

Taking care of and paying attention to the things around us and each other. That’s something you can taste here, it’s in the DNA of Hul le Kes. Suzanne: “For me, this is a pleasant working environment where I can work for a brand with a distinctive signature and a sustainable mission. This blend is what appeals to me. I therefore hope that Hul le Kes is an inspiration for other fashion and interior brands.”


Carla is one of the employees at Studio 3 with a mild intellectual disability. Due to the merger with Hul le Kes, she now also has a social and educational workplace here. She is currently working on a rug that consists of knitted square patches, which she sews together by hand. Yesterday she sorted all the patches by color with the help of Juno, the supervisor. It takes some patience, but she is calm and focused. Carla: “Soon we will sew all of these together into one large blanket. Nice huh? I can’t sit behind the sewing machine and I also find ironing quite scary, but I can do this.” Carla regularly looks up from her work to see what everyone around her is doing.

Carla is happy to work here and she would miss the attention and help from Juno and Irma if she could no longer work here. She finds it important to enjoy her work and her interest is characteristic of the warm and inclusive atmosphere at Hul le Kes. The colorful patchwork quilts made here beautifully represent the company’s social and sustainable mission.

“I can’t sit behind the sewing machine and I also find ironing quite scary, but I can do this.” 

Carla is very proud of her collection of wool hats in all kinds of colors and thicknesses. She proudly shows off three of her homemade hats and says she has many more. The hats are made from composite skeins of wool that she crochets with a knitting fork. She then twists the strands together like a snail’s shell and secures them by hand with a beautiful woolen thread. She then forms the hats on a mold for the right fit.

It is a wonderful example of how there is work and materials for everyone that suit him or her. Carla is confident and says that these hats sometimes come off. The design comes entirely from her hand and Sjaak was so enthusiastic that he decided to include the hats in the Hul le Kes collection.


Cheyenne studies Fashion at the Rijn IJssel College and is now doing a 3-month internship at Hul le Kes in the Manufacturing Studio. This is the production workshop where MBO students from the ROC Rijn IJssel, among others, can do internships and come into contact with sustainable fashion labels. They work together with the permanent Hul le Kes team and people with a distance to the labor market.

Because Cheyenne feels so comfortable here and the mandatory school days and classroom lessons don’t suit her, her internship has been extended to an entire school year in which she also takes her exams. She adjusts her schedule to the practical exams. She is very grateful for this opportunity and says: “Here I feel like a fish in water. My passion for fashion and my love and experience with social care come together at the studio. The fact that school and Hul le Kes have given me this opportunity to finish my education in this way is so special and nice.”

“I’m not an outsider here”

Since working at Hul le Kes, Cheyenne has become more confident and more satisfied with herself and what she makes. Cheyenne: “Even as a little girl I made old T-shirts fun and new again. Here I found out that I was actually already upcycling back then and that creative thinking and doing qualities are just mine. Here I am not an outsider.” Cheyenne thinks Hul le Kes is a safe place where you are taken into account and where people help each other. Cheyenne: “That attention for each other and that I can work with a diversity of materials and patterns is really cool.”

Cheyenne will soon finish her exams and would like to continue working and growing at Hul le Kes. She regrets that money has such a great influence and that it is difficult to (re)integrate into society through these kinds of valuable places.

Open day Friday 30 June 2023

Come and take a look behind the scenes at the Hul le Kes workshops!
On Friday 30 June we are organizing an open day where the doors of our studios will be wide open from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Do you want to know more about our work or are you curious whether a trajectory at Hul le Kes is something for you? Then sign up to via our website. Admission is free, but we do ask you to register.
You can find us at the following address: Van Oldenbarneveldtstraat 79a, Arnhem.

Of course you are also very welcome at one of our Dyeing events. Another one will take place on June 3.

The Hul le Kes Recovery Studio and Manufacturing Studio have been made possible thanks to the help of Rabo Foundation and Vrienden Loterij Fonds. In addition, Hul le Kes works closely with Rijn IJssel, Scalabor, Driestroom and Activerend Werk to offer both students and people with a distance to the labor market a pleasant learning and working environment.


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