Orange is the New Black: Project Papillon

Project Papillon is an ethical clothing brand hoping to rehabilitate prisoners through fashion

By Chere Di Boscio

Orange really is the new Black with Finnish brand Project Papillon. The ethical fashion label has evolved through an unorthodox collaboration with a correctional institution, allowing for the creation of a distinctive lifestyle brand while offering inmates purposeful work on their road to rehabilitation.

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Inmate Designed, Inmate Made

Each item in Project  Papillon’s line has been created in direct collaboration with the inmates. This could be either through inspiration from them, actual creative input or help in manufacturing the final product.

Like the clothing and accessories made by a similar project, Project Pieta, every article has genuine story behind it, giving it character and substance that makes it more than just a piece of clothing.

Plus, the creation and designing of clothing gives the inmates workable skills they can use upon their release.

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The Ethics Behind The Brand

The collection is fully sustainable. It includes day wear, night wear, and accessories for men and women tailored mainly from organic raw materials. When machinery or know-how is not available in prisons, the brand follows a strict Code of Ethics by collaborating with certified factories, where valid working conditions and reduced environmental impact are ensured.

It’s a fact that many for-profit prisons in the USA basically use slave labour to produce big fashion labels. These include Victoria’s Secret, Gap and others. But Project Papillon is different. They pay inmates license fees and hourly wages in return for their contributions.


With around 9% of America’s entire population in prison at any given moment, and with the rise of prison based TV shows like Orange is the New Black, incarceration, law and human rights are more topical now than ever.

We love so much about Project Papillon! Their contributions to helping prisoners not only learn useful skills but also get paid for their work. We love how this project gives those behind bars something creative and productive to do with their time. And of course, we love how every item is sustainable, too!


For more information, please see:

For more on the ethics of fashion brands made in prison, please click here.

Chere Di Boscio
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