Italian Prisons Launch Fashion Brand
Workshops in women’s prisons across Italy are participating in an initiative supported by Fendi heiress Silvia Venturini to produce a fashion brand, Sigillo. The Sigillo project is run by the Cassa delle Ammende del Dipartimento dell’Amministrazione Penitenziaria Ministero della Giustizia (Correctional Facility of the Penitentiary Administration Department of the Ministry of Justice). The project is the first of its kind in Italy and is the fruit of more than three and a half years of research. It aims to help detainees acquire skills such as stitching and beading in an effort to rehabilitate prisoners, who can then use the skills acquired when they leave prison to enhance their job prospects. Research reveals that among detainees who work while in prison recidivism is reduced by 10%. The garments the detainees create for big fashion houses will be marketed under the Sigillo brand. Prisoners will also create items to order for corporate marketing. Among the items the women are making are T-shirts, handbags, sweatshirts, caps, tablecloths, napkins, runners, hand towels, aprons and bracelets. The non-profit project is being financed with a €400,000 fund from the Ministry of Justice and €400,000 worth of donations from charities. Prisoners participate in the project on a voluntary basis and receive a small monthly salary, which they can spend on hygiene products and food in prison, or send to their families.