Introducing: Alet Brouwer

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Alet Brouwer is an haute couture accessory maker, she creates bags, belts, purses, guitar-belts from materials that other people would consider waste. Or as she put’s it: ‘I use everything I can get a hole in.’

A couple of weeks ago, at the Dutch premiere of Slumdog Millionaire at the Filmfestival of Rotterdam, I was introduced to Alet Brouwer by a mutual friend. She carried an interesting bag, made from a combination of an inner tube from a truck tire and a heavy duty belt. Alet told me that she made that herself. Alet and the bag raised so much questions that she agreed upon answering them at a later time. This took place couple of weeks later in Rotterdam, in her house and (sometimes) atelier.

Alet has only just begun making bags. Recovering from an illness last summer, she suddenly had more time at hand and also some nerve to explore creative territories. As a child Alet discovered that having a creative and very associative mind, meant for other people, that she was a bit weird: ‘they didn’t understand me.’ So she tried to block out creativity, for years, trying to be ‘normal’ but that didn’t work out, so much that she got sick of it. The process of making bags on her very own associative way makes her feel better. Now she can let her creativity flow: ‘Weirdness’ becomes a stunning bag.

In just an half year Alet Brouwer has turned herself into an haute couture accessory maker. She taught everything herself, didn’t have any training in needlecraft or what so ever. Lack of education doesn’t stop her at all, on the contrary. She creates bags, purses, guitar-belts from materials that other people would consider waste. Or as she puts it: ‘I use everything I can get a hole in’, meaning rubber inner tubes from bikes, trucks and tractors, car-belts, sport balls, heavy duty belts, etc.

In the process of connecting the pieces of material she is using her measuring tape meticulously. All the gaps have to be equally spread. Through these holes she puts the thread in by hand. She doesn’t use a machine and can work everywhere, so, when the weather is nice, Alet even goes into the park and makes her bags there. Being green in the green.

But there is more. Alet can also customize personal items, for example your old bag. In this way, the old bag is renewed and still personal and gets a new lease of life, or as Alet puts it. ‘I work with memories. One being the memory of the customized item, the other the memory of the reused material.’

Since Alet discovered this creative part of herself new ideas just come popping up. Her products are always made for a specific customer or for a specific customer in mind, with extreme attention for detail. All creations are funky and sexy and at the same time practical. Alet has an unique eye for combining various items into something new, one-off and every result is stunning and makes sense.

Alet Brouwer (1968)

One-off bags, belts, purses, guitar-belts and customizing items.

Alet superuses: rubber inner tubes from bikes, trucks and tractors, car-belts, sports balls, heavy duty belts, etc.

Wanna know more? www.retyred.nl or aletbrouwer@gmail. com

(c)2009, John Bosma

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