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How Makers Unite helps newcomers through fashion

Sustainability & ImpactCreativity & Culture

We’re proud to announce our long-term collaboration with Makers Unite to create sustainable textile products for our shops, and support creative talents with a migration background. Together with VICE, we had a chat with founder Thami Schweichler and partnership manager Lotje Beernink to learn more about their community, driven by diversity and endorsing a shared vision of a more inclusive society for all.

Three people outside, one wearing a black and white t-shirt reading “Everybody should like everybody”

The Social Hub is committed to creating a better society by putting social and environmental impact first. Today, we’re proud to announce the start of our collaboration with Makers Unite, a social enterprise on a mission to train and support talented creative ‘newcomers’ that have migrated to the Netherlands.

As an official partner, Makers Unite will now supply all textile items of the ‘Better Wear’ collection for The Social Hub's shops across all 16 locations, as well as teamwear for more than 800 employees across Europe. With an order of more than 30,000 items – the largest to date – this collaboration has allowed Makers Unite to take the next step on their ambitious journey: setting up a new atelier in Istanbul.

Together with VICE, we had a chat with Makers Unite’s founder Thami Schweichler and partnership manager Lotje Beernink to learn more about their community, which is driven by diversity, endorsing a shared vision of a more inclusive society for all.

A group of colleagues of different ages and ethnicities in a atelier posing together for a photograph

VICE: How did Makers Unite get started? 

Thami Schweichler: We actually started at this very place, at The Social Hub Amsterdam City – which was still called The Student Hotel back then. We started out as an activist movement. In 2016 the Syrian refugee crisis was at its peak, and that’s when we came up with the ReVest Life campaign, for which we used life vests left behind on Greek beaches by refugees, and transformed them into ribbons right here, at The Social Hub coworking space. We handed out these ribbons during the Kings Day celebrations here in the Netherlands. This led to the founding of Makers Unite. We got to know a lot of immigrants, newcomers and locals. We feel like all these people deserve new opportunities. If we can help them by making clothes, everyone benefits. 

When did Makers Unite start to feel like a community? 

From day one. We didn’t intend to start a business, but to get a message across. The campaign we did during Kings Day was out on the streets for a reason. We wanted to get out there, with people who wanted to make themselves heard. That’s when the community started to exist. Together with the collective we thought up ways to fulfil the needs of newcomers, and to involve locals in what we do.

Can you tell us a bit more about what it is that you do? 

We as an organisation not only produce products, but also run a talent development programme for newcomers from creative backgrounds - in which people are trained to start a career here in the Netherlands. Since our start in 2016 we have helped over 270 people via this programme. They are part of the greater community that’s connected to us. Our goal is not to help people find a paid job as quickly as possible, but to create a basis of trust in the network, so people can find their footing and take steps towards a sustainable job. We keep in touch with everyone who has followed our training.