Philippine Prison Fashion


The sprawling New Bilibid Prison to the south of the Philippine capital is known for holding the country's most notorious and hard-core convicts.
But perhaps what is less known is that fashion has recently found itself a place inside the 551-hectare compound here.

Since more than a year ago, every Tuesday, around 30 inmates from the maximum-security section would sit face-to-face with one of Manila's haute couture designer to learn how to bead and hand-paint fancy evening gowns and formal attire.
After being taught by Quinones tailoring and dressmaking lessons, the prisoners are now paid to handpaint and bead dresses, skirts, blouses, t-shirts and bags. For their creativity, they get a renumeration of 100-500 pesos (US$2-10)per finished item.





Puey Quinones, who introduced fashion to people behind bars, also managed to bring the works of New Bilibid inmates to celebrity weddings and red carpet events of the upper society. Quinones said that at first he was afraid to tell his clients who actually painted the gowns. But later on, the very fact that prison inmates originated the design drove the demand.







"My clients loved it because of its beauty and uniqueness. And they wanted to help the rehabilitation program," the designer said.
Quinones, now one of the country's most sought-after designers, said he and his special tutees are looking at exporting hand-painted shawls and wraps to Europe.

 

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