Meet our knitters
The Dutch capital booms with international talent. From business men in our South district, to artists spread all over town. From thinkers, to writers, to economists, to makers, to wanderers: the diversity in Amsterdam is stronger than ever. In this article we meet the talents that shape our label ‘Socially Made in Amsterdam’.
We made an appointment with the ladies in the atelier in Amsterdam West. When we arrived, Harjinder, Munni and Samra were gathered around an industrial sowing machine with their fellow colleagues. Concentrating on the words and actions of a young lady, who was showing them how to sow a purse. As soon as they noticed we arrived, they enthusiastically greeted us with the warm welcome as we always get: tea, a catching-up chat and lots of laughter and joy. We sat ourselves around a table and I started the conversation.
Munni ( from Bangladesh), Samra (Morocco) and Harjinder (India) moved on early ages to Amsterdam, together with their husbands who had better job-opportunities in The Netherlands. At this time, about 20 years ago, the ladies had not crossed each-other’s paths yet. However these paths are quite similar: they very soon became mothers, urged to understand and speak the Dutch language and searched for ways to participate in the Dutch society.
The origin of these ladies are spread all over the world, but they share the same problem. Unlike the western culture, their original culture does not ask of a women to be educated and to work.
‘ In India they said that I do not have to think, but my brother has to.’ Harjinder
Meaning that her brother is fully educated with the prospect of earning money and taking care of their parents in the future. But Harjinder was not supposed to take care of the family and therefore was not in need of a higher education.
Besides the fulltime task of motherhood, they tried to get jobs. All three ladies attended sowing classes before they came to The Netherlands, but soon found out that the techniques they have learned, were not applicable here. Their paths finally crossed a few years ago during a hand-craft course: The three of them knew they needed an education with knowledge on the western ‘fashion’, but also needed work experience. Het GildeLab offered them the work experience. The social venture in Amsterdam connects young designers in need of production, with ladies such as Munni, Harjinder and Samra. Here, they get experience in a work-environment and they do what they like: hand crafts, with likeminded people.
As we all do, we are constantly working towards our ideal future on a daily basis. We asked these ladies what their future would look like. What would they be doing in 5 years? With a light giggle, Samra explained she wants her own business. She has been working on her knowledge in the field of hand work for years now and she wants to use these skills to design her own garments, but also produce for others. Together with Harjinder, they are talking about keeping it small and work from home in the first years. They after all have the duties of motherhood for at least the coming 8 years. Munni on the other hand has an other dream: she would love to do production for small companies, or even be promoted to an assistant job within an atelier.
Although their ambitions differ, these three ladies share their situation and share the same wish:
At Winter in Holland we believe that independence is a basic need for any person in this world. With our ‘Socially Made in Amsterdam’ label, we want to make space within our company for these ladies to become independent and start a career as crafts-women.
*Hands in the picture above are from Munni.
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