In Conversation with Carcel

Carcel is a Copenhagen based brand that does things differently. Their collections are produced solely by women in prisons and they have made it their goal to create a positive impact on the world through fair employment and wages for women in prisons, using only the best, natural materials and making quality designs that last.

Carcel believes that empowerment comes through training, new skills, being able to support your family, saving up for a crime-free future and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.
On the occasion of Carcel now being stocked at W.W. stores we invited everybody down for a talk about producing responsibly and creating new solutions for fashion at our Copenhagen store on Thursday, April 11. Social business expert and author to many publications about sustainability and social responsibility Tanja Ellis, was kind enough to host the talk between Veronica D'Souza, founder of Carcel, and Allan Sarup, Head of Product Development & Production at Wood Wood. Both Veronica and Allan had a lot on their mind and below is an outtake on some of the topics that was talked about.
Tanja: What can Carcel and Wood Wood learn from each other? The two brands have a lot of values in common, and are on the journey of merging fashion and sustainability. Where are you in the process?
Allan, Wood Wood:
"Within the last five years we have increased our focus on sustainability as we have a desire to be more responsible in our production. Being an established brand already, we started out by looking into our supply chain to identify the areas where we could make the biggest impact and start implementing new initiatives. It has been a process of becoming more aware of the choices we make, both in terms of how we work within our office in Copenhagen, with our suppliers and in our stores."
Veronica, Carcel:
"Carcel is a social business. We're a young label, but with a strong mission of creating fashion in a responsible way. When I first visited a women's prison in Kenya in 2014, I learned how most women are in prison due to poverty related crimes. And from there, I decided to start Carcel in order to create fair jobs for women in prison so they can support themselves while working with only natural materials and creating classic designs in a quality that lasts. Wood Wood is a well established company, which is something we are now learning how to become."
Tanja: How do you work with responsible production and sustainability?
Allan, Wood Wood:
"For us it has been very important to develop a strategy on sustainability. This way we have focus areas and goals that we can work towards achieving. The two main components within our CSR strategy are responsible production and the environment - and where we can have a positive effect on both. Our strategy is available on our website which allows both our partners and customers to see our goals. We find this transparency very important and we will also be making yearly statements so people can follow our progress. We are only able to reach our goals by working closely with our suppliers and making sure we are aware and critical of how and where our clothes are produced. We have had to make sure that the suppliers we work with also have an interest in sustainability as we cannot force this upon them. Some of our suppliers were already working on becoming more sustainable, which is great! For the ones which were not, we started a dialogue to see if they were interested in being part of our journey towards more responsible production. This makes us work even closer with the suppliers we decide on, and this also means that we are more dependent on them."

"We have also introduced Double A by Wood Wood, which is our essentials program where everything should be sustainable in one way or another - for example by being produced in Europe or made from organic cotton or wool. This is our CSR flagship, and it is also a place for us to gain experiences that we can transfer to our mainline collection."
Veronica, Carcel:
"We have created our own productions. Inside the women's prison in Cusco, Peru, we have trained and hired a team of 15 women, who are very talented at knitting. We ensure fair wages and new skills for the women we employ and here we produce all of our baby alpaca knitwear. And we have a team inside the women's prison in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we produce silk. We are responsible for the entire production, and we work with local suppliers of silk and alpaca wool. This means, that we are a production company as well as a fashion label which gives us control of our own supply chain."

"We are very much hands on. You can't bring your phone or computer to the prison. We have a production manager who visits the prison daily, and who keeps us updated everyday. We believe in being present and creating true connections to the people we work with."

"As a young brand, we have rethought many steps of the value chain. Simply to make sure how we can do it the smartest and most sustainable way, so, we use only local materials, we train and create jobs for women in prison, we produce small quantities, our products are non-seasonal and never go on sale."
Tanja: Do you experience people are more interested in production, materials etc.?
Allan, Wood Wood:
"Yes, we see an increased interest from our customers in how we produce. And this is part of being a modern company, to make trustworthy partnerships and work with sustainability on different levels - and to be transparent about it. This is why our strategy and goals are available for all to see, so people who are curious about how we produce, can easily find information about this."
Veronica, Carcel:
"From the beginning, we have experienced much attention and interest in how we produce. And I see it as part of a bigger movement - everything from the materials, to how we produce on pre-orders, but especially how we have created our own productions inside prisons. It's important for us to be very transparent so our customers know who made each item and how we work inside, we have therefore all of the information published on our website - also to inspire other brands in the industry."
Tanja: Where do you see the future of fashion production going?
Allan, Wood Wood:
"We believe that very much of the focus in the future will be on reused materials, as it's the resources of nature that we need to respect. There is much research going on with new materials, and then we need to make sure to maintain a sustainable business."
Veronica, Carcel:
"I agree. It's very exciting what's happening with new materials. I believe that the future of fashion comes with transparency. We need to be open about what we do, how we produce, and who produces the garments. Also from business to business, sharing knowledge is the way to go!"
Many thanks to Tanja, Allan and Veronica. And to everybody who turned up for the talk and took the time to listen. The talk took place during the Carcel at Wood Wood launch event at W.W. Copenhagen on Thursday, April 11th.
Interested in more?
Read about how Wood Wood works with sustainability here.
Read about how Carcel works here.

Carcel is available at all Wood Wood stores and online.

In Conversation with Carcel

Carcel is a Copenhagen based brand that does things differently. Their collections are produced solely by women in prisons and they have made it their goal to create a positive impact on the world through fair employment and wages for women in prisons, using only the best, natural materials and making quality designs that last.

Carcel believes that empowerment comes through training, new skills, being able to support your family, saving up for a crime-free future and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.
On the occasion of Carcel now being stocked at W.W. stores we invited everybody down for a talk about producing responsibly and creating new solutions for fashion at our Copenhagen store on Thursday, April 11. Social business expert and author to many publications about sustainability and social responsibility Tanja Ellis, was kind enough to host the talk between Veronica D'Souza, founder of Carcel, and Allan Sarup, Head of Product Development & Production at Wood Wood. Both Veronica and Allan had a lot on their mind and below is an outtake on some of the topics that was talked about.
Tanja: What can Carcel and Wood Wood learn from each other? The two brands have a lot of values in common, and are on the journey of merging fashion and sustainability. Where are you in the process?
Allan, Wood Wood:
"Within the last five years we have increased our focus on sustainability as we have a desire to be more responsible in our production. Being an established brand already, we started out by looking into our supply chain to identify the areas where we could make the biggest impact and start implementing new initiatives. It has been a process of becoming more aware of the choices we make, both in terms of how we work within our office in Copenhagen, with our suppliers and in our stores."
Veronica, Carcel:
"Carcel is a social business. We're a young label, but with a strong mission of creating fashion in a responsible way. When I first visited a women's prison in Kenya in 2014, I learned how most women are in prison due to poverty related crimes. And from there, I decided to start Carcel in order to create fair jobs for women in prison so they can support themselves while working with only natural materials and creating classic designs in a quality that lasts. Wood Wood is a well established company, which is something we are now learning how to become."
Tanja: How do you work with responsible production and sustainability?
Allan, Wood Wood:
"For us it has been very important to develop a strategy on sustainability. This way we have focus areas and goals that we can work towards achieving. The two main components within our CSR strategy are responsible production and the environment - and where we can have a positive effect on both. Our strategy is available on our website which allows both our partners and customers to see our goals. We find this transparency very important and we will also be making yearly statements so people can follow our progress. We are only able to reach our goals by working closely with our suppliers and making sure we are aware and critical of how and where our clothes are produced. We have had to make sure that the suppliers we work with also have an interest in sustainability as we cannot force this upon them. Some of our suppliers were already working on becoming more sustainable, which is great! For the ones which were not, we started a dialogue to see if they were interested in being part of our journey towards more responsible production. This makes us work even closer with the suppliers we decide on, and this also means that we are more dependent on them."

"We have also introduced Double A by Wood Wood, which is our essentials program where everything should be sustainable in one way or another - for example by being produced in Europe or made from organic cotton or wool. This is our CSR flagship, and it is also a place for us to gain experiences that we can transfer to our mainline collection."
Veronica, Carcel:
"We have created our own productions. Inside the women's prison in Cusco, Peru, we have trained and hired a team of 15 women, who are very talented at knitting. We ensure fair wages and new skills for the women we employ and here we produce all of our baby alpaca knitwear. And we have a team inside the women's prison in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we produce silk. We are responsible for the entire production, and we work with local suppliers of silk and alpaca wool. This means, that we are a production company as well as a fashion label which gives us control of our own supply chain."

"We are very much hands on. You can't bring your phone or computer to the prison. We have a production manager who visits the prison daily, and who keeps us updated everyday. We believe in being present and create true connections to the people we work with."

"As a young brand, we have rethought many steps of the value chain. Simply to make sure how we can do it the smartest and most sustainable way, so, we use only local materials, we train and create jobs for women in prison, we produce small quantities, our products are non-seasonal and never go on sale."
Tanja: Do you experience people are more interested in production, materials etc.?
Allan, Wood Wood:
"Yes, we see an increased interest from our customers in how we produce. And this is part of being a modern company, to make trustworthy partnerships and work with sustainability on different levels - and to be transparent about it. This is why our strategy and goals are available for all to see, so people who are curious about how we produce, can easily find information about this."
Veronica, Carcel:
"From the beginning, we have experienced much attention and interest in how we produce. And I see it as part of a bigger movement - everything from the materials, to how we produce on pre-orders, but especially how we have created our own productions inside prisons. It's important for us to be very transparent so our customers know who made each item and how we work inside, we have therefore all of the information published on our website - also to inspire other brands in the industry."
Tanja: Where do you see the future of fashion production going?
Allan, Wood Wood:
"We believe that very much of the focus in the future will be on reused materials, as it's the resources of nature that we need to respect. There is much research going on with new materials, and then we need to make sure to maintain a sustainable business."
Veronica, Carcel:
"I agree. It's very exciting what's happening with new materials. I believe that the future of fashion comes with transparency. We need to be open about what we do, how we produce, and who produces the garments. Also from business to business, sharing knowledge is the way to go!"
Many thanks to Tanja, Allan and Veronica. And to everybody who turned up for the talk and took the time to listen. The talk took place during the Carcel at Wood Wood launch event at W.W. Copenhagen on Thursday, April 11th.
Interested in more?
Read about how Wood Wood works with sustainability here.
Read about how Carcel works here.

Carcel is available at all Wood Wood stores and online.