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Rambler: Authentic streetwear designed and created by street teens in capital cities

Amsterdam, NetherlandsAmsterdam, Netherlands
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Rambler authentic streetwear is designed by young people from the streets in capital cities. Rough talents discovering their style as a way to tell the world their stories. These faces and turbulent life stories is what characterises Rambler. A face with a story.. becomes a story with a face.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if rough ones rambling on the streets and tough ones producing our clothes receive more what they earn through sincereness and appreciating each other talents..
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In its roots, Rambler addresses the ones living under tough conditions. Primarily to Rambler, young people attracted to city centers and unfortunately ending up surviving on the streets. Unseen and handed over to the social system. Hanging in a refuge basement, drawing on a scrap of paper and being at an age a path can still change. Primarily to the industry, ones working under insane conditions to make our clothing cheaper and cheaper.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The beauty of the young people on the streets, with their streetwise creativity and unique styles, needs to be shown to the outer world. The Rambler brand is based on the collective talents and styles of street teens as in Amsterdam, Berlin, London and São Paulo. A brand that has its roots on the street and enables teens to develop their talents and find their way in life. At Rambler Studios the teens follow a creative program and receive social coaching by welfare partners. Their designs are sustainable produced at local ateliers and sold at Rambler Studios, soon by internet based on Make To Order and in future combined with partners in the industry. Rambler's designers retain ownership, receive 10% design fee and end up off the streets.


Recently Rambler won the WGSN Global Fashion Award 2015 for 'Sustainable Design. In 2012 the City of Amsterdam named Rambler 'Social Entrepeneur of Amsterdam'.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In Rambler’s first studio in Amsterdam, daily teens enter to work on their designs, come in for a talk or just a coffee. The creative coach guide them throughout the design process to translate their views on fashion into rough designs. It starts easy by making a personal styleboard. In whatever situation they are in, they always like to show their dreams, styles and creations. Yet they have also issues to deal with daily in their life. The social coach from our welfare partner Streetcornerwork supports the teens to find their path to independence. Their moments of victory are mostly seen at Rambler's fashion shows. They sit proudly on the front row and stand armed together on the catwalk, hearing the big sincere applause: they are seen.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Rambler operates one full-time studio in Amsterdam that works with over 80 teens a year. Begin 2016 a second studio will open in Berlin. Creatively Rambler has build up around 400 streetwear designs from teens in Amsterdam and Berlin. From long tees, low crutch pants to fancy jackets. Socially Rambler has guided teens in their personal paths. They have enrolled into art colleges, found their way to work, returned to psychiatric care and solved family issues. Commercially Rambler has presented at shows and fairs, where of the Bright Tradeshow. The collections receive positive reactions by audience, press and the industry. This confirms the commercial potential of the brand. Rambler Amsterdam sells a small selection of designs, sustainable produced by local ateliers. In the studio teens promote it from their roots, they are the brand. Rambler looks forward to increase its impact in future.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our ambition is to reach continuesly street teens in city centers, to capture their streetwise visions and to launch Rambler internationally tying into the market potential for the most authentic street wear brand in the world. Our plan is to open studios in 6 cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, London, São Paulo and Tokyo. This enables to work with over 600 street teens yearly and to create commercial collections of their designs. This way, Rambler continue to give youth living under rough conditions a stage for their talents, an opportunity to develop themselves and to get off the streets.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

To make Rambler financial sustainable, business partner Tim Dekker shaped Rambler into a Social Venture with separate business models. Rambler Foundation coaches teens by reintegration and art funds; Rambler Venture produces locally and sells designs based on Make To Order. To scale up, Rambler works with welfare partners to operate studio's in cities and looks for partners in the industry to produce simplified designs and to market worldwide.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In many cities, social organisations offer creative activities to youngsters on the streets, whereof graffity projects and Tshirt labels. Seeing these youngsters as the key of the brand by marketing the strength of their talent instead by their social weaknesses, is not found as many. Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is greatly inspired for her collections by rough people on the streets, yet without any honoring back to them. To combine both seems to take a longer run. Rambler gets inspiratation by sustainable labels such as Luta Sportswear, now marketed by Reebok, Howies and Misericordia.

Founding Story

Rambler started life as a photography project by Carmen van der Vecht of capturing street teens. Seeing the talent and beauty of rough youngsters in London, a portrait didn’t say enough. As meeting Spider: beaten up in downtown London, writing ‘the penguins tell me I’m fine’ and wearing a black long leather coat with wide flings as a penguin. He had to be shown to the world through his style and to be branded as Spider. The streetwear brand Rambler is then founded in 2007. Together with business partner Tim Dekker, Rambler has been proven by workshops in Amsterdam and São Paulo and at Bread&Buttter. They founded Rambler Social Venture in 2010 to start a 1st studio and scale up sustainable.


The Rambler team is based of dedicated, full-time creative and social coaches. For its international and organizational work there is a full-time project manager and office manager. Rambler Foundation has a board with representatives in the social, creative and governmental field. Rambler Venture gives temporary jobs to a group of professionals. For her social work and scaling up in cities, Rambler works with welfare partners Streetcornerwork in Amsterdam, Neue Chance in Berlin and Henry Street Settlement in New York. The second Rambler studio in Berlin has recently receive its funding and will be opened early 2016.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Manufacturing, Consumption.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Brand Representative, Designer, Non-profit Staff, Retail Representative - Specialty Store.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Consumers, Designers, Policymakers, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Youth, Other [please specify].

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Accountability, Conscious Consumerism, Disaster and Humanitarian Relief, Recycling or Circular Economy, Transparency.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Organizing, Media, Other, [please specify].

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?

Rambler targeted the apparel industry at its start.

Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

By incorporate social sustainability in all our human capital; from teens, the team, production until the models on the catwalk

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

Rambler look forward to find new partners in the industry to create the world first truly streetwear brand by the street..


Rambler is a great idea. I would have liked to learn more about your design and production process and why you describe it as complex. Does its complexity impact on the project's scalability? How could you simplify production (and hence, increase volumes while achieving economy of scale) and still retaining the unique aspect of the designs?