Carcel clothing is made by women in prison (hence the name – cárcel means prison in Spanish). In Cusco, Peru, incarcerated women make knitwear using baby alpaca wool, while in Chiang Mai, Thailand, pieces are rendered in silk – both materials local to the regions.
Predominantly these women come from low-income communities with low levels of education and are in a very marginalized position, and they end up committing a crime like drug trafficking, theft, prostitution, all these types of non-violent crimes. – Veronica D’Souza, CEO and founder
D’Souza noticed that prison sentences often completed a cycle of poverty for the women, and started wondering “if you could transform that lost time into something productive”, with the incarcerated women employed and making products.
I have a big passion for well-made things and crafty things, and you know, I think the Danish design tradition runs really deep in my blood. I love the subtlety of something that is really simple and beautiful, with good material. – Louise Van Hauen, creative director
Baby alpaca wool is a sustainable alternative to cashmere, both sturdy and soft, with natural thermoregulating properties thanks to Peru’s mountainous temperature ranging from minus-20 to 30 degrees. Sweet silk bags are rendered in lilac and jade, baby blue and burgundy.
The woman who makes the product sews or embroiders her name on to the label or, as with the silk pieces from Chiang Mai, on the exterior in Thai cursive that doubles as a decorative detail.