Sustainable accessory brand Terracotta Row has joined forces with the UK’s leading prison reform charity, Leather Inside Out, to create a collection of colourful, and socially and eco-conscious tote bags.
The unique fashion collaboration, which is available to buy from the Tate Modern online shop, as part of their Tate Edit Makers’ Showcase, consists of 14 tote bags designed in bold colourways.
The colourful bags have been made from recycled PVC by female prisoners and ex-prisoners, as part of Leather Inside Out’s training programme ‘Design for Life’. The initiative 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Leather Inside Out in 2019 to help address the UK’s reoffending cycle which has been linked to prisoners being taught outdated skills and paid low wages under the Prisoner Earnings Act 1996. These outdated skills the charity states make it impossible for those leaving custody to find employment, maintain family ties and source accommodation upon release.
Tate Modern to sell Terracotta Row bags made by female prisoners and ex-prisoners
Victoria Kate Johns, ex-prisoner and founder of Leather Inside Out, said in a statement: “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 leathercraft 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.”
The Terracotta Row tote bags, which retail from 59 pounds, each have a playful and bright aesthetic, combined with strong, waterproof industrial coated fabrics. All the fabrics have been sourced from discarded industry materials that would normally end up in landfill.
Terracotta Row founder, Saher Oliver Samman, added: “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.”
Images: courtesy of Terracotta Row/Leather Inside Out