A unique collaboration between the London College of Fashion and HMP Send, and funded by Sir John Cass’s Foundation

Professor Frances Corner, OBE, is Head of London College of Fashion, Pro Vice-Chancellor of University of the Arts London and former head of the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design. Frances leads an innovative project which is a unique collaboration between the London College of Fashion and HMP Send and is funded by Sir John Cass’s Foundation.

beautys_inside_frances_corner_thumbProfessor Frances Corner, OBE

“ The Sir John Cass’s Foundation grant has helped the London College of Fashion continue to develop a unique collaborative project with HMP Send and to produce ‘The Beauty’s Inside’ magazine. Bringing together the skills of our staff, the enthusiasm of our students, and our unique industry contacts, the grant has allowed us to run a series of educational workshops for the women of HMP Send such as design, photography, beauty and styling. The grant has allowed us to produce a magazine; a process which teaches women prisoners collaborative ways of working and communications skills, and by showcasing their talent, helps to empower them to think more positively about their future ”.

The second issue of The Beauty’s Inside magazine is the result of several months of Wednesday afternoon ‘workshops’ where participants from Send and students from LCF courses that included Fashion Journalism, Fashion Photography and Creative Direction, worked (laughed and sometimes in the nicest possible way, cried…) together to come up with riveting content.

Underpinning the project was the desire for the women at Send to produce a magazine which explored issues and subjects important to them. Alongside this the women wanted to develop the look and feel of the magazine to create a more fashion focussed, glossy publication. The result? Four very different – and crucially current – high fashion shoots pulling on the talents of budding stylists and creative directors from LCF.

 

One story salutes the seventies-revisited punk trends that swept the Autumn/Winter 13/14 catwalks.

Another focuses on ‘Upcycling’, rocking the sustainable clothing vibe so close to LFC’s heart with pre-loved clothing upcyled by Send’s own very brilliant Sewing Bee expert and textile friends.

Elsewhere, highlights include a fashion face-off, where LCF students and Send prisoners challenged each other to ‘refresh’ their own style, and a floral story inspired by blooms within the prison gardens.

Also in this issue, professional stylist, Carl Stanley, who normally works with celebrities and models, advised on make-up and hair and illustrator Beth Fraser recorded his tips in sassy drawings.

The project showcases raw talent within Send and champions communication, creativity and teamwork skills in a peer-to-peer mentoring environment with LCF students.

LCF students felt very much at home at Send, particularly given its Arts sensibility and were grateful for the friendship and trust bestowed upon them by the women at Send.

Kevin Everett, Treasurer and Chairman of Sir John Cass’s Foundation, relishes the challenges and rewards of supporting “on the edge” initiatives such as London College of Fashion’s education project at HMP Send, which fits with one of the Foundation’s four priority areas in its grant strategy.

Although not the largest project the Foundation has supported, the project has achieved notable outcomes in terms of, first and foremost, raising the prisoners’ self-esteem – something that lies at the heart of many problems – but also by providing education and employment opportunities that will hopefully assist these women back into mainstream society.

In 2013 this project won the Times Higher Education Award for Widening Participation Initiative of the Year and more recently was awarded the 2014 Big Society Award.

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