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HENK at home with Naz Kawan

In the series 'HENK at home', we visit people who inspire us to give you a glimpse into their daily lives. This time we visit Naz Kawan, founder and director of 2050 Factory (formerly A Beautiful Mess) and the Mondmaskerfabriek. Her company 2050 Factory is a social enterprise where refugees can gain work experience in the textile industry and expand their professional network. They make sustainable, new products from existing materials.

Naz, you are an inspiration in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship. What motivated you to start 2050 Factory?
My largest motivation to start 2050 Factory was the fashion industry’s negative impact on the climate - that has to, and can, be done differently. When faced with major challenges like these, it helps to look for local solutions. The Netherlands has a rich textile history; there were more than 200 clothing workshops in Amsterdam alone about 150 years ago. Since then the industry has moved to countries in the global south and we have lost this craftsmanship in the Netherlands. It has always been my dream to bring the textile industry back here.
In the last year of my studies, I researched circular economic challenges in the fashion industry. I discovered that we have an extensive network of tailors with refugee backgrounds in the Netherlands. I believe that we can find solutions to major challenges if we learn to look differently. With my company, we combine the talents of tailors with sustainability and the localisation of clothing production.

You have already had the opportunity to work with major brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Dutch eyewear brand Ace & Tate. What are you most proud of?
I’m personally most proud of the fact that within my company, we create jobs for a target group that has difficult access to the labour market. It’s special to see that people can start working from day one without being fluent in Dutch or going through lengthy processes and integration programmes. I'm not in favor of the latter either. The fastest way to get people to participate in society is to look at their talents and put these to use. From a business perspective, I’m proud of the fact that we won  the Tommy Hilfiger Award in 2020 which also resulted in a collaboration that ensured that we could really make a real impact. Ultimately, you need the major players in the industry by your side to increase your impact and make a real difference in terms of sustainability. I also believe that collaboration is the most important way to make the industry more sustainable.

In what way does sustainability play a role in your daily life?
Since starting my company four years ago, I have begun to buy differently and look much more critically at the companies I purchase from. Unfortunately, the lack of transparency is still a significant problem within not only the garment industry but other industries. Very few companies can really tell you where, how, and by whom something is made or is being made. Every day we work on making the industry more sustainable; it’s an ongoing process that’s constantly changing. You’re  not only trying to bring about systemic changes, but also changes within our culture. For me, that starts with curiosity and a critical look at the products you buy. I always wonder where and how something was made.

How would you describe your interior style and what do you pay attention to when purchasing a new piece of furniture?
I would describe my interior as minimalistic, with a selected colour palette of natural tones and soft colours. I like clean lines and a few modern, quality items without too many frills. To create warmth, I use soft materials and warm lighting. I also think a nice bookcase is important for my collection of books. I want to let my furniture speak for itself, without too many distractions, but incorporate a few eye-catchers like artworks to really make a house a home. I have a great love for modern art but have also become a fan of art nouveau lately, an art movement that refers back to elements in nature.

Studio HENK recently collaborated with Renewi to give waste wood a second life, which resulted in the 100% recycled Slot Dining Table. Why did you choose this table?
I chose the table because it has a minimalistic but modern and timeless design, and is completely made from waste wood. The table is an excellent example that you don’t have to compromise on beautiful design when developing a fully recycled product. What particularly appeals to me is how the table is made; it’s produced locally in the Netherlands and shows true craftsmanship. Collaborating with another company to create something new is also something my company stands for.

Curious about our 100% recycled Slot Dining Table, created in collaboration with Renewi? Visit one of our stores to see it and order one for yourself. The Studio HENK x Renewi Slot Dining Table is available in two finishes, natural light and, as you can see here in Naz’s home, in black stain.