By buying better, fewer things, people can contribute to solving the industries fast-fashion problems while still looking confident and sexy.

Atelier Jungles

Scroll down to read Giselle’s story

We are Atelier Jungles, A new fashion label in The Hague, The Netherlands.

There is a story behind every garment about how and where it was created. A lot of times your clothing has a long history even before it arrives in your closet: telling a tale of international shipping and cheap labour and synthetic fabrics. Things should, and can, be different. We want to tell a story about honest business casual that is made the way all clothing should be made: with social and sustainable responsibility.

Our tailors and seamstresses are experienced but, for a variety of reasons, had problems finding employment. With guidance and training, we offer them jobs, allowing them to grow and allowing us to create our clothing close to home. Atelier Jungles wants you to know the story behind your outfit. that is why we have a transparent way of working and it is possible to come by and see the workplace and creation process for yourself.

Our collection exists out of sustainable fabrics or designer deadstock. Every year millions of usable materials from designers all over the world are being destroyed. In addition to using the most sustainable materials, Atelier Jungles buys these “written off” fabrics to create a more sustainable impact and to make use of the most of these high-quality materials.

Depending on the pace of our atelier we drop small collections six to seven times a year instead of seasonally. Opting out of a culture that makes you feel like you constantly need to buy more but understanding your personal style beyond trends.

By buying better, fewer things, people can contribute to solving the industries fast-fashion problems while still looking confident and sexy.

Giselle Van der Star
Founder & Owner
Atelier Jungles
+316 81900414

 

Meet the Impact Community – Giselle Van der Star

How would you introduce yourself when meeting a new person?
I find it challenging to separate my business life from my personal one. When you have a company, you are the company. Since I’m lately meeting mostly new business partners, I introduce myself as the founder of Atelier Jungles. In a more casual setting, I’m a 30 years old mom-to-be! I’m also a very conscious person, striving for sustainability and impact not only related to my work field but also regarding my food choices. In addition, I’m really outgoing, being around people and discovering new places recharges me after a long day.

What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve been working in retail for over 10 years on both the buying and the selling side of the industry, which are heavily commercial. During the years working on the buying side I had the opportunity to visit Asia where the industry is primarily focused on the mindset “the higher the profit the better” which then becomes a competition to get the product for as low as possible. However, I slowly started noticing the detrimental effects of the retail world on the environment. A few years later I was visiting a supplier in Asia again and I was shocked when they wouldn’t let me behind the scenes of their business. At that moment I had a realization that this was really bad news. That planted a seed in me which needed a few years to grow to result in where I’m at right now, meaning to start my company and to make a difference contrary to what the fast fashion industry does. In the meantime, I also needed to mature to be ready to do it. I started shaping the business plan in 2019 and I started the company last year. It took me to see the polar opposite, which is the commercial, money-driven and destructive industry to decide to set up my own company setting positive impact as the primary goal.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
We have started a little more than a year ago so I was very glad that we managed to get through it despite these difficult times. Other than that, our mission is two-fold with focusing on both the sustainable and the social aspect. We work closely with the municipality of The Hague on providing fair job opportunities to those people, who have from a variety of reasons difficulty finding a job. Right now we have three people who are working with us full-time, they are growing and learning on the job, getting more social, developing themselves and it makes me very proud.

What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
There are no two days that are the same. As we are a very small company a lot of different tasks are on my plate. Firstly, I’m responsible for the design, trend-watching, making sure that we launch new capsule wardrobe collections every two months, keeping in contact with the fabric companies we work with and I’m constantly researching the ways we can improve our work. Secondly, I’m also doing HR and care about supporting our team members by having weekly meetings to see if everything is going well not only at work, but also at home, or with their finances. Furthermore, I’m actively collaborating with sustainability-oriented Dutch universities and helping students interested in social entrepreneurship in the Netherlands. In addition, I’m part of an impact-related project in the Netherlands where we are working together with other entrepreneurs and governments on creating more sustainable platforms in the country. To be able to manage all of this I swear on thorough planning with the help of lists and setting priorities.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’m still young, I’m only 30 (chuckles). There have been quite a few times when I lost myself within my job and did things that didn’t feel right to me, especially when I was in the buying business. I still regret some of those decisions, mostly the negotiations with people I know had it difficult already. So what I would advise myself is to stay true to my values and care more about the well-being of others and be less egocentric. Back then I was mostly focused on getting rich, making sure that the company I was working for got the highest profits, but that also meant that someone else got the worst out of it. Now I know that you can be successful by helping others and having empathy as your main priority.

What are you recently up to?
I’m going to be a mom in October! We’re also in the middle of moving and renovating our new house. On the business side, we have recently launched our new collection on Zalando. We also focus on expanding our B2B and collaboration with RDW. Apart from focusing on our collection, I want to work more on creating impact with other entrepreneurs, this includes working more closely with the municipality, upcycling old fabrics or the worn-out workwear of commercial companies. This also challenges us to be more creative, provide quality recycled products and therefore make a positive impact.