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Carcel, il brand danese prodotto dalle donne in carcere

Materiali di prima qualità, design danese e empowerment femminile

Carcel, il brand danese prodotto dalle donne in carcere Materiali di prima qualità, design danese e empowerment femminile

Danish design, 100% natural materials, made in prison. 

This is the philosophy behind the label Carcel (which in Spanish means 'prison'), founded by Veronica D’Souza and Louise van Hauen, based in Copenaghen but also in Peru and Thailand. The items are in fact designed in the Danish capital city, but are then manufactured by incarcerated women in the Cuzco and Chaing Mai prisons. 

While living in Kenya with her friend van Hauen, D'Souza, who studied social entrepreneurship and sustainable business, visited Nairobi women's jail and realized that the main reason why women committ offences is poverty. "Predominantly these women come from low income communities with low levels of education and are in a very marginalised position, they are often single mums, and they end up committing a crime – like drug trafficking, theft, prostitution, all these types of non-violent crimes." Once released from prison, with no future prospectives or a stable income, these women are forced to go back to that environment which made them committ a crime, creating a sort of vicious circle. All the women working for Carcel receive an appropriate wage, that once they have served their sentece, will allow allow them to break that poverty circle, giving them the chance to pay for their children's education, and to definitely leave criminality behind. 

D'Souza not only started to map the world into countries that have the highest rate of poverty-related crime from women, but also the world’s most luxurious materials and a tradition for craft. Cuzco is therefore perfect for the production of baby alpaca wool, while Thailand was chosen for its refined silk. Baby alpaca wool, for example, ('the fibre of the gods') is a sustainable alternative to cashmere, both sturdy and soft. Also the selling method is quite different and new. In collaboration with the sustainable e-commerce platform Sardin, Carcel has launched a special capsule available only on order: all garments are manufactured responsibly to meet the exact demands of the market rather than manufacturing in bulk. 

The design of the Carcel items is simple and clean, as in the best Nordic tradition. The two founders have always wanted beautiful and trendy creations, but not short-lived, Carcel’s pieces transcend seasons, meaning there is no time constraint when it comes to the design and development process. The inaugural alpaca unisex collection saw the 'milano outfit' - a knitted jumper and lean trousers - and the 'uni-tee' become instant sold-outs, very Instagram friendly. For the next year Carcel wants to focus even more on silk, while at the same time expanding its operating zone, reaching female prisoners in Romania and UK. 

The Carcel x Sardin capsule is available for pre-order until December 15 here