The Carcel look is clean, irreverent, and top shelf in materials and wearability – with stylistic cues derived from anything from goth to pop. Run by Veronica D’Souza, Louise van Hauen, and Stinne Wilhelmsen, Carcel is based on a rare fashion business model: employ incarcerated women in Peru and Thailand to give them fair wages and important job skills.
What convinced you to start your own brand?
Veronica had the idea for Carcel when visiting a women's prison and seeing that poverty is the cause of most of them being in there. Many are providers and cannot contribute to their families once they are behind bars. She decided to set up Carcel to employ the women, give them fair wages, and have them learn new skills, so they can break the cycle of poverty, feed their families, and hopefully improve their lives in prison and beyond.
What person, historic or living, would you like to see in your collection?
Phoebe Philo. It would the greatest honour to see her in something by Carcel. She only wears her own designs, so to us it would be the ultimate proof that we have struck the right nerve.
What production qualities are found in your designs?
Our philosophy is to design timeless pieces, so the quality must stand up to it. We often add sporty or rugged details in the construction, but if you look inside, all our garments are packed with hand stitching and fine details.
What is the most important knowledge you have gained so far?
Things take time. If you want to make something of high quality, it takes patience in both development and production. Then it takes time to cultivate an audience to appreciate the quality you have created. It's a long process, and we're just getting there.