Carcel paves the way for the future

Words Celine Syverud

Carcel paves the way for the future of fashion where impact, quality design and smart business meet. Within a year Carcel has set up production inside a women’s prison in Cusco, Peru, where they produce a line of casual high quality knitwear. Carcel choses their countries of production based on two main criteria: a local source to a natural material and opportunity to create the greatest social impact.

This week Carcel introduces their new Uni-Tee – made by women in prison. Working against traditional fast fashion trends and seasons, Carcel launches limited batches of styles throughout the year – and now it’s time for a fine-knitted classic t-shirt, made from 100% baby alpaca wool.

What made you decide to commit to the social aspect of the business?

The social aspect came before the business. Veronica d’Souza, CEO and Founder, is a social entrepreneur by heart and her cusiorsely brought her to a women’s prison in Kenya. Here, the first idea of creating a social business with women in prison was founded. Later on, Creative Director and Partner, Louise van Hauen, joined with her background in fashion.

How important has the relationship between Carcel and the prisoners been for the development of the brand?

Carcel is based on relations. Without the team of women in Cusco, and the support from National Prison System, the production would not be possible, and then we wouldn’t exist. Our German production manager, Meike, lives in Cusco and goes to prison everyday. This means, that we are closely involved in the production and get daily updates on everything from finish garments, to personal stories from the team. This high level of transparency is important for us, and our close relation to the women makes us able to share their stories with our customers.

What does social inclusion mean to you?

Having a strong social approach means that you put the human in focus. We thrive to create better futures for these women through new skills and fair wages – while creating high quality garments. Simply to produce without compromising on either product, people or planet.

The launch of the Uni-Tee takes place at SPACE10 in the meat packing area and contains a one-day pop-up/showroom and a tee-party.

Facebook event: Carcel Uni-tee launch at SPACE10

Instagram: @carcelclothing

What pieces do you advise people to invest in from the collection and why?

Our team favourite at the moment is the Uni-Tee. We launch it on the 1st of feb. and we are excited about this seasonless classic fit that can be worn in so many ways. Next up is our Milano outfit that overrules them all with its complete casual look. What is really special is that each of our styles carry the name of the woman who made it.

Are you committed to sustainable brands in your personal life?

We all share a conscious approach to living, but we are not extremists. Our vision is to take one step at the time towards a future where products solve problems instead of creating them. This is something our entire team is inspired by.

In the next upcoming years, what do you hope to achieve with Carcel?

The more we can employ, the greater impact we make. We hope to expand our business and empower more women in prisons around the world. Currently, we are looking into the opportunities of setting up production in a women’s prison in Thailand, where we will produce in local silk. We hope to launch silk garments later this year.