Carcel: A Danish Clothing Label Made by Women in Prison


Through a Kickstarter campaign, Carcel raised nearly $50,000 to finance new knitting machines for a women’s prison in Cusco, where its debut collection is being produced.

“In Peru, the number of women in prison has doubled the past 15 years,” D’Souza said. “The majority are sentenced for drug-trafficking, and go under the name of ‘drug mules.’ The drug cartels target girls from poor backgrounds, often the young, beautiful and pregnant girls, because they have better chances of getting through customs. These girls often get sentences of eight to 15 years behind bars.”

“Poverty is the main cause of female incarceration all over the world,” D’Souza said.

The six-piece line, which marries Scandinavian design sensibilities with the “bold colors” of Peru, comprises 100 percent baby alpaca wool, an Andean mainstay.

Each woman will have her name printed on the tag of the garment she helps make.

RELATED | Alternative Apparel, Peruvian Artisans Create Sustainable Alpaca Line

“Peru has a long tradition for alpaca and knitwear; we use the fantastic expertise of these women and turn otherwise wasted time into skills and paid jobs so women in prison can support themselves and their children,” D’Souza said. “This means that they can cover their basic living costs, send their children to school, save up for a crime-free beginning, and ultimately break the spiral of poverty.”

For its encore, Carcel will be heading to India to make its next collection, this time from 100 percent organic silk.

“Poverty is the main cause of female incarceration all over the world,” D’Souza said. “Peru is just the beginning. With your help, we can go global.”

+ Carcel

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