Enschede Textielstad | An Interview with Annemieke Koster
It’s October! And we want to start the month off with some very exciting news. We’ve been working very hard on making every step of our production process more sustainable. That’s why we’re so very excited to work with Enschede Textielstad. Having re-awakened the city’s textile industry, we thought it only right to interview the woman who started it all.
Enschede Textielstad is a small-scale industrial weaving mill in the Netherlands that produces garment and interior textiles with local and mostly recycled yarns. Its founder Annemieke Koster is driven to bring back textile production to the heart of Enschede, which was once one of the largest textile producing cities in Europe.
What are you most proud of in your work?
I am proud that I get to work with other pioneers on a daily basis – all working to make the fashion industry a better place. I believe in the power of collaboration, so I happily share the production partners I work with – together we can enlarge our impact on the industry as a whole.
I am super excited to work with really diverse colleagues. I got interns walking around that just turned 18 and also work with some of the craftsmen who used to work in the textile industry decades ago. Those men are in their ’80s! This mix works out surprisingly well.
Another thing I am proud of at Enschede Textielstad you can place an order for 1 meter, but we also can weave 10,000 meters for you. Our leading principle is that we don’t produce more than necessary. We produce on request, so we hardly create deadstock.
What does your dream future in the fashion industry look like?
I believe in working locally. This does not mean that we locate all production in Europe, but that every country somewhat produces for their own region. If you look at the food industry: it can’t be a good thing that one region is trying to meet the needs of the whole world, right? The environmental pressure is just too much; the same goes for the textile industry. Decentralization and scattering is the way forward.
Following our own local principle, we only produce for the European market. This might not be the smartest choice business-wise, but it is our way to go. We have a network of like-minded companies worldwide, so we can refer potential American clients to weavers in their own local market.
We choose stability overgrowth and are really happy we get to work with nice, forward-thinking people without having to grow explosively.
If you could change two things about the fashion industry tomorrow, what would they be?
Really, can I only change two?
In that case, I would get rid of the seasonal collections. It is crazy that the default is still that most brands have new collections every few months! I prefer brands that have never out of stock items that you can cherish and wear for a long time. The other thing I would love to change overnight is that everyone working in the fashion industry is getting paid a decent, living wage.
What does your favourite Slowdown Sunday look like?
I am an absolute food lover, so I would definitely go for a lavishly, extensive breakfast. Of course, with a good cup of coffee. After breakfast, I would go to the weaving mill. For me, that is the absolute slowdown: experimenting on my weaving mill. After that, I would go out for a lunch with friends or ride my bike through the beautiful Twente region. Enschede might be far from other Dutch cities, but the surrounding nature is fantastic!
We want to thank Annemieke for making this interview and collaboration possible. We’re very excited to see what the future brings, and for now are very much enjoying the beautiful Sarah trousers, whose fabric is made by Enschede Textielstad. Keep an eye on our blog for the next deep dives and interviews with the industry’s leading women and men.