Carcel, the Danish Brand Empowering Incarcerated Women the World Over

By: Belle Hutton
Photo: Courtesy of Carcel

Original content from AnOther.  

Who is it?
It seems fitting that Veronica D’Souza, the Danish founder of Carcel, had the idea to start the label while living in Nairobi. Although D’Souza (CEO and founder) and Louise van Hauen (creative director and partner, who was living with D’Souza in Nairobi at the time) are now both based in Copenhagen, Carcel itself also counts Peru and Thailand as home. This is because of its premise: 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 the Thai city of Chiang Mai pieces are rendered in silk – both materials local to the regions. Having visited a women’s prison while she was living in Kenya, D’Souza found out that poverty is a key factor when it comes to why women commit offences that result in prison time. “Predominantly these women come from low income communities with low levels of education and are in a very marginalised position, and they end up committing a crime – like drug trafficking, theft, prostitution, all these types of non-violent crimes,” she says. 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.

Read the rest of this story and view the photos at AnOther.