// Inside Out is launching a one-of-a-kind pop-up store, “Blank Canvas”, located in Westfield Stratford City
// The group received training and mentorship in areas such as screen printing and design, as well as sales and marketing.
The UK’s first range of clothing created, designed and handcrafted by young ex-offenders has opened a pop-up in Westfield Stratford City mixing fashion and employment workshops.
The new initiative is part of a prison rehabilitation program created by social enterprise Inside Out and LinkedIn.
The group of young people released from prison aged 18 to 27 are selling their new 13-piece clothing range in the store, which includes hoodies, hats, t-shirts, face masks and bags.
The ‘Blank Canvas’ pop-up, which will remain open until April 28, is designed to equip disadvantaged young people with skills in business, fashion and retail, through a mix of LinkedIn-led courses, and by selling a range of clothing designed by ex-offenders – the sales of which will support other similar projects.
The group, all of whom have struggled to find jobs, received training and mentorship in areas such as screen printing and design, as well as sales and marketing to help them pursue their wider career goals. .
The project was originally created in response to new data that highlighted the difficulties people with criminal convictions face in finding work, showing that only 44% would do so a year after their release.
Participants can also get free professional portraits and one-on-one career advice from LinkedIn Career Coaches which will be available during the pop-up on April 19, 21 and 26.
People who sign up will also learn how to create a professional LinkedIn profile and receive tips on how to grow their network.
VCCP London Executive Creative Director Matt Lloyd said: “Support networks for young offenders are already scarce, and the pandemic has unfortunately only added to this. For an ex-offender trying to build a new future, LinkedIn may not be the obvious place to start. But LinkedIn is unique in that it’s able to offer the kind of learning, guidance, and connections that might otherwise seem like a world apart.
“This Inside Out project is a wonderful opportunity for these young ex-offenders to demonstrate what is possible with a little mentorship, encouragement and belief. We hope this will help start something much bigger.
Zara Easton, Head of Brand Marketing at LinkedIn, added: “LinkedIn offers training and mentorship to help them develop their skills and find long-term employment opportunities as part of our larger ambition to create a more inclusive workforce for all. With the founders of Inside Out, we wanted to develop a campaign that brings their new beginnings to life and shows how we can help create that opportunity through the power of connections.
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