Social Label celebrates 10-year anniversary

Social Label

Fashion & Textile | Product | Craft | Social design

The ‘Werkwarenhuis’ in Den Bosch is the headquarters of Social label, a cultural meeting place including a concept store with design products, a pop-up restaurant, a lab and studios.  Founders Simone Kramer (C-Mone) and Petra Janssen (together with Edwin Vollebergh Studio Boot) are celebrating the 10th anniversary today together with the makers, designers and public involved.

Social label began in response to a social demand for new custom-made work. Kramer and Janssen created a kind of mini-society in which vulnerable groups who cannot keep up in our fast-paced world and are left out of our economic system are given new opportunities.

Social label works with, among others, long-term unemployed people, people who are in a care institution or have suffered burn-out and have difficulty entering the regular employment process. ‘Together with professional designers, they make beautiful design products, do fun and challenging work in an appealing work environment and develop self-esteem,’ Janssen summarises. ‘Socio economics is what we call it, because it is not just about economic value, but about the high social value of the design products.’

Products we make are a vehicle to radically change processes around care, work and participation

Initiators of Social label: Simone Kramer (C-Mone) and Petra Janssen (Studio Boot)

The first product line was called HOUT: tables and benches by designer Piet Hein Eek and Amarant’s wood workshop. A decade later, some 100 people are working on a collection of more than 50 products. The latest design is called ‘Heart of Gold’, which is being presented today: a cloth with coloured hearts developed by Petra Janssen together with Social label studios and the TextielMuseum.

These and all the other practical, distinctive designs are sold in the Werkwarenhuis and in a growing number of concept stores and museum shops. ‘We are now hoping for even more consumers to consciously choose these products,’ Janssen believes.

Last year, five Social label workshops were set up. In the Assembly workshop, Iris Toonen, among others, works on 3D-printed mirrors and Kranen/Gille on KLUIS, together with people who often return to society or move on to paid jobs. ‘We are super proud of that,’ says Janssen.

So is the professionalisation of a number of workshops within care institutions. A good example is the narrative service KOM that Edwin Vollebergh makes together with mentally disabled people from atelier Cello in Den Bosch. ‘With this, we save workshops that are being cut back by the government or for which there are no longer any supervisors. This is how we encourage good craftsmanship and local production in the Netherlands. The further we get, the more we are needed.‘

Text: Viveka van de Vliet
Photography: René van der Hulst
Art direction: Petra Janssen/Studio Boot

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