this art school project is using fashion to fight knife crime

DESIGN+MAKE opens doors for young adults from communities affected by violent crime, helping them to build positive futures.

by Lula Ososki
09 August 2016, 7:40am

Born five years ago from the unprovoked stabbing of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student from Central Saint Martins, Art Against Knives is a charity aiming to solve the route of London's knife crime problem through education and creativity. The programme offers young people living in areas of London affected by knife crime a chance to carve out their own, positive career by providing creative opportunities and training. Their latest programme DESIGN+MAKE was a showcase of the talent and potential these young creatives have. Through a nine-month mentoring scheme, with an intensive two week leather skills workshop, run by London College of Fashion, UAL, the group of students designed and made their own bags, each with personal flare. "The beginning was a challenge and I had no idea how to design," said one participant, 21-year-old Kemi. "With the help of everyone I was able to come up with a beautiful bag. It was a great opportunity which I am very grateful for."

Designer Ally Capellino was involved with the project, acting as a mentor and guide as well as hosting the launch party in her East London shop. "The DESIGN+MAKE collaboration was something that I was keen to be involved in from the beginning. I was very inspired by the participants uninhibited approach and gung-ho attitude throughout the process," she described, with Professor Frances Corner OBE, Head of London College of Fashion adding: "The designs were so creative and really reflected the personalities of the participants. To achieve the standard of finishing that I saw in just two weeks, is really amazing."

The idea is that the participants not only enjoy the experience but also develop confidence, resilience, and transferrable skills that they can take with them. "The course was really rewarding. I learnt a lot in the 2 weeks that I will take with me to better my career in the fashion industry," explains 20-year-old Jamar.


Text Lula Ososki
Photography Hanna Puskarz