Fashion Education in Prisons

In the summer of 2012, the School of Media and Communication at London College of Fashion embarked on a collaboration with a women’s prison to produce a unique publication, entitled The Beauty’s Inside.

Funded by the Sir John Cass Foundation, the magazine brought together eleven serving women offenders and eleven students from across the School who, over the course of ten weekly workshops held at the prison last term, worked together to produce content inspired by and relevant for the women prisoner readership.

The magazine, also printed by prisoners at HMP Maidstone’s Printshop, was distributed to all inmates at the prison in early August and forms part of LCF’s wider commitment to the rehabilitation of women offenders and follows two womenswear design projects, also undertaken at HMP Send, over the two previous academic years.

The second magazine project from the women of HMP Send and London College of Fashion students arrived in October 2013.

In issue two, the magazine focuses on giving the women of Send an opportunity to explore topics and issues important to them in a peer-to-peer mentoring environment with students from LCF. Together, the women and students explored themes of identity in fashion, autumn winter trends and fashion icons, as well as their interests such as up-cycling, textiles, films and art.

Following on from issue one, the women developed the look and feel of the magazine into a more glossy fashion publication that other women in the prison could read and engage with.

Funded by Sir John Cass Foundation, this unique project took place over ten weekly workshops held at HMP Send and involving eleven women from the prison and nine students from London College of Fashion. This annual project encourages the women of Send to work collaboratively, teaching new communication skills and exploring creativity, helping to raise self esteem and a positive outlook for the future.