CARCEL is a Copenhagen-based fashion brand manufactured by women in prison. Working with some of the highest quality and most sustainable materials in the world, the brand transforms the inmates lost time into fair wages, skills and hopes of a better future. Designs take their starting point in the Scandinavian design tradition, with simple silhouettes and premium quality materials. The brand has a mission to create quality clothing, with attention to detail, while solving a social problem instead of creating one.
Most women in developing countries are incarcerated due to poverty-related crimes, often young, poor, single mothers with a low level of education. After visiting a series of Peruvian prisons, the founders realized that incarcerated women were already sewing and knitting, but with no market access, they were unable to sell their products or make any money. CARCEL turn this wasted time into skills and paid jobs, so that the women in prison can support themselves, send their children to school, and save money to break the cycle of poverty.
Ironically, some of the countries with the high-rates of poverty related crime are also home to some of the world’s most exclusive materials. Peru fits this description, with a high-rate of drug-trafficking sentences for young women from poor backgrounds, and the home to beautiful Alpaca wool. In partnership with the National Prison System of Peru, and a local production manager inside the women’s prison in Cuzco, designer Louise van Hauen made the first collection inspired by Danish design, and mixed with bold Peruvian colors. Since that first collection CARCEL has built strong relationships with the female inmates in Cuzco, and the team has grown with talent, advisors and supporters.
Each design is handmade with 100% natural materials. CARCEL invests in good wages and sells exclusively online. The first collection was made from 100% Baby Alpaca and produced in a Peruvian women’s prison, and the second collection will be made from 100% organic silk, and manufactured in Indian prisons. CEO and Founder Veronica D’Souza is a strong believer in improving the world through designing business solutions that are attractive and aspirational. She is a social entrepreneur and prior to CARCEL, she co-founded the award-winning social business Ruby Cup.