Interview with the founder of Kleerlijk

Erwin Miedema (29) is the founder of the sewing studio where 470 STUDIOS produces its collections. Over two years ago, Erwin started his company in Groningen, which is currently listed among the top of sustainable sewing studios in the Netherlands. We spoke with Erwin about his passion for fashion and his vision on sustainable clothing.

Erwin shares his passion for fashion with his family. "My mother taught me how to work with a sewing machine. I went to a fabric store and just started trying to put clothes together by myself." He enjoys sitting on the terrace and watching how people are dressing themselves."You get so much out of people's expression through their clothing style. How each person feels and behaves, it's like an open book."


When he was unable to find a good option for the production of sustainable streetwear, he started his own sewing studio, Kleerlijk. This studio stands for fair and sustainable clothing. The company produces exclusively on-demand, which means there is little overproduction. The fabric that is left-over is being used by sports clubs to fill boxing bags. Next to working in a sustainable manner, the production studio aims to contribute to society. They work with tailors with a migration background. With Erwin's background in social work, he finds working with different cultures one of the most enjoyable things. "All the people who work here come from different countries and are all, without exception, willing to contribute to society. Let's work together."


High-quality clothing is often more expensive, but Erwin has found his own way of dealing with this. "I'm wearing a beautiful pair of suit pants from the thrift store and a designer sweater that will last for 10 years, which can offset the cost." He believes we should look more at the brand we want to identify with and not buy a new item for each party. Brands that inspire Erwin are Represent, Balenciaga, and Gucci. Oversized streetwear with high-quality fabrics and finishing trims. The excessive overproduction by fast-fashion brands, to keep up with every trend, needs to end. We have to invest in high-quality fabrics and production. "Big brands need to stop making multiple collections per year just to stay relevant. I have good hope that it will change, but it will take another 50 years." 


For 470 STUDIOS, both sustainability and high-quality are of great importance. In his studio, Erwin produces the long sleeves and T-shirts of 470 STUDIOS. "470 STUDIOS has chosen for a sustainable production process from the very beginning. I can only compliment that. As a brand, you have to make that choice very consciously. The vision, quality, and fits of 470 STUDIOS are good, and I also believe that the branding is on point." Erwin advises young entrepreneurs to work on the continuity of their brand. "Don't release too much at once, rather launch smaller productions more often. This helps to increase your brand awareness. Just do it. If they say no, then they say no, and you move on. That mentality will take you far."


470 STUDIOS believes in chasing your dreams. For Erwin this means designing clothing for his favourite club FC Groningen. "FC Groningen has my heart. I have always said that if we get the opportunity to produce for them, I close the doors of my studio." And he succeeded in achieving that collaboration. In March 2023, Erwin will launch the first collection he designed together with the club. However, for the foreseeable future he is not thinking about closing the studio. "I really enjoy working with brands and tailors, but I'm not talking about being successful or achieving things. Maybe I'm a little too down-to-earth for that as a Groninger."


Erwin envisions a sustainable clothing industry in the Netherlands. "I hope people will realise that sustainable clothing is indeed achievable, but you have to want it." In the future, the priority of 470 STUDIOS remains to produce sustainably and minimise the impact on our planet