Prisoners shape up for a life of fashion

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The Independent Online
MODEL prisoners took to the catwalk yesterday at Full Sutton top security jail, near York, to show off their personally designed clothes. The prison has become the first in the country to set up its own manufacturing base to produce 'Keyhole Clothing'.

Inmates mingled with professional models to display more than 250 outfits during a two-hour fashion show in front of professional buyers and designers. It is the first time any such show has been held inside a British prison.

The Home Office said all the clothes had been designed and made by prisoners serving either long-term or life sentences, during the last six months. The idea came from one inmate, Peter Lambert, who read Lord Justice Woolf's report into the Strangeways riot, which suggested prisoners should be allowed to make their own clothes.

The clothes on display yesterday ranged from workwear through to sports wear and leisure outfits. The show proved a huge success and had buyers promising to talk seriously about the possibility of marketing the designs.

Kate Cullinan and Conrad Leach, designers and buyers for the Red or Dead organisation and Dr Martens, were clearly impressed by what they had seen. Ms Cullinan said she was 'amazed' and delighted with the originality of the designs.

John Staples, the governor of Full Sutton, said there was every possibility, if the designs were well received, that they might be able to operate a mail order service to other prisons. He added: 'This is a collaborative venture with the prisoners and the staff. They have shown imagination and flair and put in a great deal of hard work.'

(Photograph omitted)