INMATES show off crochet creations in Brazil fashion show. 

A rehabilitation project at the facility teaches convicts crochet - a technique similar to knitting - to build self-esteem and life skills.

The  catwalk came to a Brazilian prison on one last Wednesday when models from Sao Paulo Fashion Week paraded a collection at a maximum security facility in front of the inmates who created them.

Intricate crochet bodices , cheeky skirts and denim finishes featured in the fashion show at the Adriano Marrey prison outside  Sao Paulo, where inmates looked on, lavender-colored yarn in hand.

A rehabilitation project at the facility teaches convicts crochet - a technique similar to knitting - to build self-esteem and life skills.

" I was proud of myself seeing my creation being modelled by the public and even more proud to know that people liked that piece that I made,'' said Fidelison Norges, 41, who is serving combined  18 years for armed robbery and drug trafficking.

Around 150 detainees have completed the program, called Ponto Firme, Portuguese for Fixed Point, since Brazilian fashion designer Gustavo Silvestre brought needlwork to the cells in 2016.

As an incentive, participants sentences are reduced by one day for every 12 hours completed in the programme.

Silvestre has taken the project twice to Sao Paulo Fashion Week, with some former inmates even modelling the  crochet's  in front of  the who's who of Latin American Fashion.

The theme of this year's collection, chosen by the inmates, was ''opportunity,''  Silvestre told journalists.

''Sometimes the detainees has the desire to change and reevaluate their life and search new paths for his life, but when he gets outside prejudice and the lack of opportunity are the biggest challenges,'' Silvestre said.

''Often the person can't get past the stage and returns to crime.''

For this year's Sao Paulo Fashion Week, held in April,  Silvestre shepherded  prisoners and   former inmates, who now work with him, to complete the  35 pieces in three months.

The inmates dismiss  those who mock the idea of men doing crochet.

''There are people who say that it's only for women, but I don't see it that way,'' said Islan da Luz, a  28-year=old  drug trafficking convict, while crocheting a  powder blue skirt for his wife and a megenta one for his mother.

''I think those who think like that are ignorant, prejudices and a minority.''

Most of the 2,200  inmates at Adriano Marrey were convicted for drug trafficking. Seventy percent did not finish primary school.

''Crotchet  ''created a will in me, it clams me down, it helped me overcome smoking and using drugs,'' said Felipe Santis da Silva, 28, who is serving 11 years for robbery.

Silvestre recalled a former inmate who, upon his release, sold some of his crochet work to fund his application for a driver's license.
''He won't carry on with crotchet, but it is helping him build his path,'' said Silvestre.

''He wants to drive his Uber, be a taxi driver, own a business, but it's crochet that's helping him with these first steps. [Agencies]


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