We’ve recently become aware of the incredible ‘Made In HMP’ initiative, an ath-leisure brand, spearheaded by Cell Workout Founder, LJ FLANDERS.
Cell Workout started as an idea from cell A2-21 in HMP Pentonville. LJ Flanders created a workout during his prison sentence as a way to stay healthy and maintain mental wellbeing during long hours locked in a cell. He then developed his notes into a book which he self-published five years ago (now published by Hodder & Stoughton). It is this experience and his subsequent personal training in the community that have given him the knowledge, expertise and motivation to want to help prisoners develop a healthier lifestyle, whilst also providing mentoring and employment opportunities.
LJ has now developed a rehabilitation programme, delivering motivational workshops to men, women and young offender institutions across the prison estate, to encourage self-improvement, reduce re-offending and increase ex-prisoner employment. LJ now works with a team of 20 ex-prisoners and people working within the prison system to help towards rehabilitation.
The ’Made In HMP’ project was developed following a talk in Pentonville prison, where LJ was approached by Rowland Gee, former CEO of Moss Bros, who suggested to add an Ath-leisure collection to his brand.
Being asked a lot about the prison tracksuit with the Cell Workout logo printed on, he really liked the idea of extending the brand into fashion. The tracksuit, t-shirts and vests will be the base of the Cell Workout Athleisure collection and will be produced in prison.
To find a Designer that could bring the brands’ vision to life, LJ and Rowland visited Graduate Fashion Week to select suitable candidates to work on the project. After seeing all of the proposals, they chose Carter, a graduate from Plymouth College of Art, to design the Cell Workout Athleisure collection.
From their Crowdfunder message:
One of the key aims of our business plan for 2019–2022 is to diversify and build our income in a sustainable way. At Cell Workout we have a vision of developing a MADE IN HMP brand which ultimately will include a Cell Workout gym in the community, a fitness app and range of cookery/diet books. Initially we want to produce a sustainable range of MADE IN HMP athleisure wear (t-shirts, vests and tracksuits) produced by skilled prisoners in England and using only British materials.
To launch this range, we want to produce Cell Workout MADE IN HMP t-shirts. We tested the potential of the t-shirts by using a generic, low cost manufacturer in the community to produce them for all workshop participants and have had increasing requests from people wanting to buy them (encouraged by Tom Hardy wearing his own Cell Workout vest!).
In producing our t-shirts, we want nothing but the best quality whilst also staying close to our prison roots. The Cell Workout MADE IN HMP t-shirts will be hand made by prisoners who reside at HMP Downview and who are also students of the London College of Fashion. Working with prisoners to produce our MADE IN HMP clothes echoes Cell Workout’s belief that great things can be MADE IN HMP, and reflects our desire to help rehabilitation by teaching new skills to provide better job opportunities. We want to send a clear message of what this t-shirt represents – new beginnings, second chances, and rehabilitation.
The initial project is to produce the first print run of Cell Workout MADE IN HMP t-shirts for sale. If we exceed our target, we will commission a second print run. As production grows, income generated by selling the t-shirts will mean we can deliver more prison workshops, improve the health and well-being of more people in prison and ‘through the gate’, and make sure more positive change is MADE IN HMP.
As of today, they’ve reached just over £11k of their £25k target.
There are just 2 days left to achieve this goal – please support this fantastic project with a donation of £10 or more, at:
More information: www.cell-workout.com