THANK YOU FOR NOW!
When starting Carcel four years ago, we had a dream of building a social business that would create fair employment and education for some of the world’s most marginalized women, showcasing their capabilities and craftsmanship through seasonless quality design. It has been quite an incredible journey with both rewarding feedback and challenging hurdles. This past year has been tough for many businesses around the world and unfortunately, the challenges were too many for us to overcome. We are now at a point where we lack suf!cient liquidity and sadly, we will therefore have to close down. Everyone on the team has done everything possible to avoid this outcome but the challenges of lockdowns in our countries of production, combined with dif!culties of raising capital in the midst of a global pandemic, have been too much for us. We are incredibly proud of all that has been achieved. We have come so far thanks to the support of our community, partners, investors, and incredible employees. With this letter, we would like to highlight some of the many accomplishments, as well as make a few notes for the future.
PURSUING THE DREAM
Carcel started with an ambition to push the boundaries of a modern and truly impactful fashion brand: rethinking our supply chain; offering voluntary employment, education and fair wages to incarcerated women during and post release; creating bold, qualitative designs in natural materials, while building on a seasonless business model with a no waste approach. Basically aiming ambitiously for impact and sustainability in every aspect of the journey, without compromising on quality of design. Each piece carrying the name of the woman who made the clothes. We have been part of creating a global conversation on fair working rights and a !ght against exploitation of prisoners. Our approach to holistic sustainability has generated international attention, and our company and designs have been featured by press worldwide. Hey, we even made it to the front page of the New York Times! In 2020 alone we: launched our D2C platform as well as Scanshop, a new business model for digital retail to eliminate stock and waste; set-up a company in Thailand to start a production site for women to work in post-release; started small-scale production outside prison in Peru; presented our work on a code of conduct for fair employment rights for prisoners at the OECD Garment and Textile Meeting in Paris; created costumes for the Danish Royal Opera, and opened Copenhagen Fashion Week with guests instead of models taking the catwalk to challenge the status quo of fashion.
The hardest part about shutting down is leaving our employees in Peru and Thailand without work and income. They have gained incredible skills and have been the most loyal, inspiring and powerful women to work with. We are grateful for the bravery they have shown by going on this journey with us, and it has been a privilege to grow together with them. It is our hope that what our employees have gained from working for Carcel, will be a foundation for each and everyone of them to continuously believe in themselves and help remap their future. If you have any connections to organisations or companies who would like to get involved in opening new doors for these women, please let us know. We will do whatever we can to pass on the knowledge we have to anyone who would like to step in and continue the work of offering fair and voluntary work opportunities for incarcerated women or women post release.
HOPE & THANKS
It is our hope that we have been part of a generation of brands that push innovation and new thinking around sustainability and that somehow, we have made a positive mark on the industry. We hope that others who dare to dream will see our journey as proof that it is possible to start something, to re-think, to connect and create strong partnerships. To make a difference. We didn’t have a lot of experience, or a lot of money, but we had the power of the collective to believe that anything is possible, and mostly, that resulted in people around us saying yes. We are grateful to everyone who has been part of supporting this initiative. These past four years have created invaluable learnings, friendships and that will never be forgotten. The list of people to thank is endless. None of this could have been possible without any of you. From everyone on our team in Thailand, Peru and Denmark, thank you for being part of this incredible journey. Go chase your dreams.