A Manhattan-based designer is attempting to challenge some of America’s deepest social problems by teaching what she knows best: fashion.
Anna Lynett Moss, designer of the handbag line Chyiome is teaching a fashion theory course at the women’s prison on Rikers Island as part of New York’s Prison Education Initiative. The Prison Education Initiative provides incarcerated women in the New York area with engaging educational experiences, through various General Education Development (GED) subjects, from reading to mathematics.
The Project Runway alum has been working with the Prison Education Initiative since 2011. While instructing courses in visual art and feminist activism, she works to understand the source of a crime, with the aim of empowering her students both personally and academically.
“Fashion Theory is the most successful course I’ve taught through the Prison Education Initiative in the women’s jail on Rikers Island,” said the 25-year-old designer. “Though classes on law or hip-hop at Rikers draw respectable amounts of students (generally 6-20 per class), none have matched the success of the Fashion Theory course, which boasts a 30-inmate roster.”
In fashion, anything is possible and all the best success stories include past struggles. Who knows, maybe your next favorite designer will be an ex prisoner.
What do you think about Anna’s Fashion Theory course? Do you think it would be beneficial in other prisons too?