In conversation with Sjaak Hullekes
We had a pleasure speaking with Sjaak Hullekes about finding clothes that underline personality to be more sustainable.
What is your ultimate hack for making a wardrobe more sustainable?
Take your time! The coming and going of trends in the fast fashion industry have significantly influenced our behaviour. The turbulent speed of the industry and the trends cycles are for sure not the essence of a sustainable wardrobe. To create more awareness on this the first step is to notice what kind of garments make us happy and underline our character. My advice is to take yourself on a journey to discover the wide range of alternatives. There are many but it takes some time to research and adapt.
How do you create a sustainable wardrobe?
A sustainable wardrobe is not about the amounts of garments we own but rather the sheer quality, 'more' does not necessarily make the merrier. Making sure that you know the garment selection you own helps. Another factor is knowing who made your clothes and under which conditions, this will increase the emotional value.
Once you've found a brand that interests you, do some research on it. Does the price match what the brands deliver or are we paying for their expensive marketing? My personal advice is to always ask for the background of a piece of clothing in the store, good staff can tell a lot about that.
What are the best ways to give your clothes a second life?
There is no one best way, there are several options. With Hul le Kes we focus on repairs and returns. For example, we have a Dyeing Service, here we dye old clothes with natural ingredients to give them new life in older wardrobes. Soon our Mending Service will also be available, so we repair or mend clothes by hand. For the Hul le Kes collection it is also possible to return clothes, we work with a kind of deposit principle. Old Hul le Kes item is then used to make new items. Giving or receiving a gift is always fun!
What is better recycling or upcycling?
Not everything can be recycled and not everything can be upcycled. This is a very complex question with many answers. All depending on what type of fabric we are talking about. For example, polyester is much easier to recycle than cotton, but then you can ask yourself whether polyesters are actually finer than cotton and so on. It also has to do with the moment of depreciation of the raw material. Waste from clothing manufacturers is easier to recycle than consumer waste. We focus on consumer waste, which is the industry's biggest problem right now. In addition, upcycling (and reuse) is the easiest and also the best solution at the moment.
What is a good rule for balancing your wardrobe (so to consume less)?
First give or sell an item from your current wardrobe to a friend or the thrift store. Only then do you buy a new product. Realizing whether a piece of clothing makes us happy before we buy it, is a crucial step. And always look at how a brand deals with sustainability.
Is there a rule to look fashionable and yet not follow trends?
Just forget about trends. You can notice this in certain colors or types of items. I hate trends. Joining a trend camouflages personality. Many tend to forget that trends should come from within and knowing your body, skintype, colour etc. The colours people love also say a lot about character. Let clothing embrace your own mood or sometimes just hide it! That's the magic of fashion and why I think clothes are so beautiful.
Do you have personal advice for making a wardrobe more sustainable?
See a wardrobe as a personal collection. Take time and do research, and above all, be patient! Maybe you will only find your favorite item in two years, that's no problem, is it !? As long as it really suits you, stay consistent.
Which investment pieces should not be missing in a wardrobe?
The pieces that truly underpin personality! You can always accept good advice, but don't let it get to you. Follow your heart! You are a unique and beautiful person and your clothes should underline that!