J LABEL founders at factory in India with people who produce their clothes.

J LABEL: sustainable and fair clothing label for women, by women


Start-ups & SMEs







Sustainable, trendy fashion that is produced fairly and that strengthens both the maker and the wearer? Janneke Honings and Judith van der Wolde couldn’t find it when – years ago – they decided to buy clothing more ethically. So they set up their own sustainable fashion brand J LABEL. With Invest International and the help of the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), their start-up company has launched a number of successful collections.

J LABEL: fashion and justice

The passion of Judith and Janneke can be summed up in two words: fashion and justice. That combination comes together wonderfully in J LABEL. They set up the brand to help make a better world, in which jobs are created to empower women and make them independent. And, with an eye on future generations, they increase sustainability in all links in the supply chain. From solar panels on the factory roof in India to the packaging in which the garments are shipped. The company vision is based on trust and inspiration, which is why they are open about all aspects. “The more conscious that brands and customers become about fashion, the better,” point out Judith and Janneke.

Love of fashion and equal opportunities

They always had a love of fashion. And they believed in equal opportunities for all and a sense of justice. The latter reflects the careers of Janneke and Judith before they started J LABEL: they worked as a lawyer and solicitor respectively. Because they didn’t see their futures in that field, they put away the statute books and gowns and together began a challenging adventure in fashion. They did it partly to tackle the pollution caused by the industry behind fast fashion.

“With J LABEL we seek meaning by making something beautiful and contributing to a better world.”

Fantastic dress

“Clothing is made too cheaply by the makers, in the industry,” explains Janneke. “People are underpaid and often work in unsafe conditions, while companies and brands in the West make huge profits from it.” She then adds: “That doesn’t have to be the way, we thought. With J LABEL we are demonstrating the positive change that we’re always looking for in our life and work. Isn’t it wonderful not only to wear a fantastic dress but also to stimulate equal opportunities and pay somebody a fair wage? J LABEL for me is a way to express what I have to share with the world. The same goes for Judith.”

Have a look at the J LABEL website
Judith and Janneke, founders and co-owners of J LABEL.

Judith van der Wolde and Janneke Honings took the plunge and started out on a sustainable fashion adventure.

Fair, female and empowering

J LABEL stands for ethically produced, female clothing made from sustainable materials. The collections are characterized by rich colours and prints and imaginative details. Moreover, Judith and Janneke affect the environment as little as possible by choosing flowing fabrics, among them deadstock fabrics, biological cotton and sustainable viscose. With this brand they want to contribute to a better environment, to empower women and to promote gender equality. “We seek meaning by making something beautiful and contributing to a better world. J LABEL proves that it’s possible,” says Judith with conviction.

“The makers of our clothing are mostly women. We ensure that they can work in safe conditions and receive a decent wage for their work. We want to show our customers that by buying a J LABEL garment, they are giving these makers opportunities and empowering them. The job offers them the possibility to become independent, to contribute to their family finances, and also to connect with other women. We see a real sense of sisterhood in which women care for and help one another.”

Read more about rethinking Manufacturing

“Items of clothing are named after the makers. Stories about the women who work in the factory in India are shared on social media.”

Women in charge in Indian factory

The J LABEL collections are primarily made in a factory in India, where most of the raw materials for the collections are sourced. Women are employed at all levels of the company, including the management. “In India it’s not a matter of course for women to work,” explains Judith. “But this factory was even set up by a woman.” The factory has been awarded the Global Organic Textile Standard. This is a certification system for assessing the fabrics used, the social conditions and the ecological standards in garment factories. Janneke and Judith visit the factories to check if the conditions there are exactly as they are supposed to be.

Model in newest collection of J LABEL conscious fashion.

Women’s clothing made from beautiful, sustainable materials that affect the environment as little as possible: that defines J LABEL.

Stories about women

The women in the factory do more than make clothes. Judith and Janneke also involve them in the branding and give them a face and a voice. Each item of clothing is named after one of the makers. Judith and Janneke use social media to connect the wearers and makers with each other through stories. That lends added significance to a dress or a blouse. In the documentary ‘We are’, which J LABEL made in 2021, dressmaker Sunita explains what the work means for her and her family. “Do you know how powerful the needle and thread are?” she asks. “They create jobs, support families, connect people.

Women’s clothing made from beautiful, sustainable materials that affect the environment as little as possible: that defines J LABEL.

5 contributions made by J LABEL

  1. 70 people, mostly women, have work and an income in India, Turkey, Peru and Italy.
  2. Employees receive training in the factory and can develop.
  3. The brand vision raises awareness among customers.
  4. J LABEL is a frontrunner and inspires other, larger brands.
  5. It offers positive inspiration for living in a more conscious way.


Janneke and Judith first made two small collections. They proved successful. But more was needed to really make the impact they envisaged and to produce ‘made-to-order’ clothing. With pre-financing through DGGF and Invest International, J LABEL could take the next big step. It allowed them to make two clothing collections in India. Through DGGF, Invest International invests on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in projects in development countries and emerging markets.

Judith and Janneke, founders and co-owners of J LABEL.

Judith and Janneke give the makers of J LABEL garments a face and a voice in various ways.

DGGF helps start-ups

Investment Manager Mieke Flierhuis of DGGF explains: “Start-up companies often lack the working capital needed to grow. There’s a long period of time between making a garment in India and selling it to the customer. Our pre-financiering enabled Judith and Janneke to make various collections.”

And: “Doing business in a country like India is considered a high risk, and start-ups usually have no proven track record. DGGF, together with Invest International, fills this gap and can help entrepreneurs, obviously as long as there is a solid business case with sufficient local impact abroad, which is the goal of DGGF.”

Read more about DGGF and how it might help your business

Podcast about J LABEL and DGGF

In this podcast by Grenzeloos Ondernemen, in association with the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), Janneke and Judith talk to Folkert Tempelman. Listen to the podcast (in Dutch) and learn how a clothing brand can work ethically.

Grenzeloos Ondernemen · JLabel (GO#038)

The J LABEL project wants to make an impact by:

  • producing sustainable clothing in a responsible way
  • contributing to local employment and knowledge transfer
  • supporting the empowerment of women and gender equality
  • stimulating female entrepreneurship in the Netherlands
  • helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero hunger), 5 (Gender equality) and 8 (Decent work and economic growth).
Read more on our view on impact

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Mieke Flierhuis Investment Manager
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