Danish design duo Louise van Hauen and Veronica D’Souza are creating quality garments and getting help from some unexpected employees. Looking deep into Cusco, Peru, the Danes have given hope to some imprisoned women. The ladies are given an opportunity to knit sweaters for the Danish crew’s brand Carcel. Most of the prisoners tend to come from a poor households and were used as pawns in the widespread drug trade and are more often than not in their teens or early 20s and locked up for 17-plus years.
With Carcel offering them a type of stability in crafting the knitted garments, they are given an opportunity to feel like a human again. Employing 15 women in the Cusco prison, each are paid in cash for each item they make. That money is distributed to the women’s families by Carcel’s production team—a husband and wife who work inside the prison and monitor the manufacturing. This doesn’t seem to be the end for the two either, they plan to expand. After recently traveling to Thailand to visit women’s prisons, the pair hope to work with them in a similar capacity, creating ready-to-wear from local silks. Eventually, they’d like to work with women’s prisons in at least five countries worldwide.
For now, the line consists of locally sourced 100 percent alpaca wool sweaters ranging in price from $175 to $1,400 and available online.