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Prison reform charity, Leather Inside Out, has announced that it is joining forces with sustainable accessory brand, Terracotta Row, to create a collection of socially and eco conscious bags through the Design for Life programme, which are crafted by women in prison and on release.
The new collection of stylish tote bags, which are made from recycled material, are available to buy from the Tate Modern online shop www.shop.tate.org.uk – as part of its Tate Edit Makers' Showcase.
The collection consists of a range of 14 tote bags, which are created in bold colourways and will retail from £59. The bags each have a playful and bright aesthetic, combined with strong, waterproof industrial coated fabrics, designed to survive in the elements for years. The fabrics are sourced from discarded industry materials that end up in landfill unless salvaged, breathing new life into waste.
The colourful tote bags have been created by female prisoners and ex-prisoners, as part of Leather Inside Out's training programme 'Design for Life,' which offers prisoners and ex-prisoners the opportunity to learn transferable fashion industry and craft skills in training, whilst earning the National Minimum Wage, so that they can build a new life upon release.
The Design for Life programme was launched by Leather Inside Out in 2019 to help address the UK's reoffending cycle, which has been linked to prisoners being taught outdated skills and paid low wages under the Prisoner Earnings Act 1996, making it impossible for those leaving custody to find employment, maintain family ties and source accommodation upon release.
Victoria Kate Johns, ex-prisoner and Founder of Leather Inside Out, says, "I passionately believe that responsibility for prison rehabilitation is collective, and society wide. We know that the current UK criminal justice system is not working as it should be, and action needs to be taken in order to help prisoners and ex-offenders begin a positive chapter in their lives once their custodial sentences have been completed.
"The Design for Life programme has the potential to unlock doors for many prisoners and ex-offenders in the UK – delivering opportunity and purpose via education, skills in training and employment in the British leather craft and fashion industry and leading by example for these sectors.
"I'm delighted that we are able to work with Terracotta Row and a prestigious institution such as the Tate to create this exciting new collection."
Saher Oliver Samman, Terracotta Row founder, says, "With over a decade of accessories design experience we've managed to redesign, refine and improve our range to deliver the finest product we can create at an affordable price range and we're always dreaming up new and unique ideas. I'm proud to collaborate with Leather Inside Out on the Design for Life programme as the charity holds the same compassionate beliefs as Terracotta Row. To see our collection being launched into an incredible cultural institution such as the Tate affirms my passion and belief in the brand."