CARCEL is a Danish label which merges socially responsible production with beautiful design. The unique label is designed in Copenhagen and produced by incarcerated women. Founded by social entrepreneur Veronica D’Souza in 2016, and designed by Louise Van Hauen, the brand is responsible for an empowering initiative – together with their talented and ambitious team they help to break the cycle of poverty that leads to high female incarceration rates, using only 100% natural materials, made in prison.
The label is starting a new type of fashion statement in the Danish fashion scene and setting new standards on how to run a modern fashion label: design manufactured by women in prison and sold exclusively online. In just one year the brand has set up their own production inside a women’s prison in Cusco in order to transform poverty-related crime into fair wages, skills and hopes for a better future.
After one year in the making, the label launched their online store to customers worldwide during Copenhagen Fashion Week. Carcel sells exclusively online dropping limited batches of new styles to avoid wasteful stock and respecting the pace of their unique production.
The garments are designed and made from 100% natural materials. The first production is located in Cusco’s women’s prison in Peru, using 100% baby alpaca wool that is locally sourced and holds a heritage connection to Peruvian culture and craftsmanship traditions.
Every item carried the name of the woman who made it, connecting the customers to the person behind their clothes. Carcel is driven by a strong social purpose, fiery souls and bold ambitions. “I wanted to give people a new fashion alternative, where every item solves a problem instead of creating one, without compromising on quality or design” says CEO and founder Veronica D’Souza, The brand is rooted in Scandinavian design practice where functionality and attention to detail meets premium material and effortless style. Driven by a tireless ambition for merging high quality design with sensible production, Louise van Hauen, the creative director and partner at Carcel has a knack for balancing the beauty of classic elements and current relevance with a cool, considered and casual attitude. –– “We love shapes and textures that are flattering and make you feel smart without trying” says Louise.
One woman behind the cloths: Rocio
SENTENCE: 12 YEARS
TIME LEFT: 6 YEARS
FAVOURITE COLOUR: FUCHSIA
Rocio is smart, talented and professional. The
other girls named her ‘la major trabajadora’, the
best worker. Her family live far away which means
she never gets any visitors so the opportunity to
work means a lot to her.
After High School, Rocio moved to Cusco and
worked in a fashion store. She fell in love with an
older man who asked her to drive some new girls to
Cusco, who would work in his store. She states that
she didn’t know they were hired as prostitutes. She
got stopped by police control and is serving time
for human trafficking. Her boyfriend disappeared
and she never heard from him again.
Rocio is working to save up for a new beginning.
Her dream is to study tourism and leave Peru with
the hope to one day, live in Brazil with her father.