Everything you know about fashion is now on the edge of something even greater and involving. Today, meet the people behind the Pietà Project, a group of committed convicts who think that fashion is not just about luxury, and its voice, Thomas Jacob, a young French activist.
You wake up in the morning, in Peru, and decide to start a project combining fashion, convicts rehabilitation, and a true stylish sense. What were your motivations?
Actually, it didn’t happened just like that. I have lived in Peru for a few years, and I once had a chance to visit a jail where I met some prisoners, it was very far from the idea we can have on latino-american convicts. They were kind, welcoming, open-minded… but bored, without any activities. There were some sewing machines and a bunch of people who knew how to use them tough. It was heartbreaking to leave them all by themselves, so I had the idea to start and develop a fashion brand with them. I drew a few sketches, bought some materials and came back to the prison. That’s how we started the project. It took some times to present our first collection because we wanted to produce well-made clothes. But with a lot of dedication we made it. And it’s not just about releasing another fashion brand, there is much more behind it: we used higher quality ecological materials, tried to have an irreverent concept which goes against the tide of marketing (no label, no logo…). The project is profitable for the convicts: incomes, early release, easier rehabilitation…
Fashion can change the world: do you agree?
Fashion can participate in changing the world, there’s no doubt. At a local and personal scale, it’s quite certain, just like art can affect a personality and change it completely.
But on a large-scale, there are other economic an political stakes, held by a few people, so even if every textile companies change their habits it wouldn’t make a big difference on today’s issues (hunger, poverty, wars, easy access to treatments and education…) I’m not Albert Jacquart though, and I think that there is a lot of things we don’t know. I just think that’s a pity that there isn’t much more personal initiatives which can change some people’s everyday life. It would be a good start.
What are your best satisfactions with the project?
Working with people I can call my friends. Actually, each convict I started the project with is much more than a friend, we often say that we’re a family. Every time I got to see them it’s a true joy. I think that we all find a bit of freedom when we’re all together.
How can we help the project?
By promoting it! Spread the info like a wildfire, we’ve just released it! For now on, we have to extend our distributor network worldwide.
Any last word?
I think that everybody’s got to stop thinking and go for it! Don’t think about the consequences, or what the other will think. Especially in fashion. I don’t see the project as a market, but as a artistic activity where you can do anything you want.
Oh, and stop trying to find a meaning to everything, sometimes, there’s not.