this art school project is using fashion to fight knife crime

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

Aug 9 2016, 12:46pm

Born five years ago from the unprovoked stabbing of Oliver Hemsley, a 21-year-old student from Central Saint Martins, Art Against Knives is an inspirational project aiming to solve the route of London's knife crime problem through education and creativity. The program 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. The organization's latest initiative DESIGN+MAKE, in collaboration with London College of Fashion, showcased the talent and potential these young creatives have. Through a nine-month mentoring program and leather skills workshop, 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 shared.

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 learned 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