Fashion show of garments made in prison at the Old Bailey
On 28th April, the Old Bailey hosted the launch of fashion designer Sue Bonham’s new collection, sewn and embroidered in prison by trainees of social enterprise Blue Sky and Fine Cell Work.
This is the first ever designer collection of garments made in prison after Wayne Hemingway's Red Or Dead's Keyhole Collection in Autumn/Winter 1994. FCW has done the embroidery and Blue Sky the machine work. It is extraordinary that Fiona Woolf, Lord Mayor of London, has worn an embroidered outfit made in prison at an event at the Old Bailey, where all the most historic criminal trials have been held.
The show helped raise awareness of our plans to train and employ ex-prisoners ‘through-the-gate’ in sewing machine, garment making and soft furnishings skills. There is a need to renew our sewing machine skills base in Britain, and this initiative would supply training and employment prospects to a population who are badly in need of such support. It would also be of broader public benefit by helping to mitigate the cycle of re-offending by making ex-offenders more employable.
Our partner charity Blue Sky has an outstanding track record in providing employment in prison (under Blue Sky Inside) and the community to people with criminal records with a view to supporting rehabilitation and reducing the cycle of re-offending. They set up a workshop in HMP Bronzefield, a women’s prison, to manufacture cloth bags and table linen and operations have recently been extended to making garments.