Haeftling means "prisoner“ so this fashion brand is not hiding the fact that it is crafted by inmates. It is the first jail wear brand in the world, introducing a clothing collection that is handcrafted by inmates throughout Germany.
The idea for this unconventional project originated in the prison Berlin Tegel where clothes have been manufactured for over 100 years by convicts for their own use. Initially hesitant to market these clothes to a broader market, businessman Stephan Bohle pushed the line forward in 2003 and now the inmates make their hard time pay and produce clothes for the outside world from Australia to Japan.
What's Available from Haeftling
Much more fashionable than prison stripes on neon orange, the Haeftling clothing collection ranges from jeans and jackets, to shoes, skirts, and even underwear. All of the products embrace a minimalist aesthetic and timeless design with a tough but elegant touch.
In addition to their clothing line, Haeftling also sells household articles like leather briefcases and bed linens as well as new ventures into producing food products. The beloved German specialty of schnapps is embraced in the Haeftling Schnapps-Set which consists of three premium spirits. Everything is done by hand by the German inmates: from growing and harvesting the fruits and herbs to distilling them.
Haeftling - Doing Good
Opening their website, visitors are greeted with the message "Be good, Do good". This is a message the company takes seriously as a percentage of the proceeds goes back to the prisons in the form of training programs for the prisons and offered to the inmates themselves.
Haeftling also supports organizations that campaign internationally to improve prison conditions and uphold the rights of political prisoners.
Haeftling Shops in Germany
Haeftling in Berlin
Address: Rosa-Luxemburg Strasse 25, 10178 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 246 307 10
Opening Hours: Mo-Fr noon – 8 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Haeftling in Hamburg
Address: Markstrasse 136, 20357 Hamburg
Phone: +49 40 401 854 19
Opening Hours: Mo-Fr noon – 7 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Visit the Haeftling Online-Shop (in English and German) for specials, online ordering and more.
The website appears out of date and at least the Berlin store is permanently closed. It appears that while inmates might still be doing time, they are not using it to make fashion-ware.