Both prisoners and former San Vittore inmates work for the Cooperative Alice in Milan, and have already made costumes for theatre and television as well as clothes for small shops.
They already sell a line of T-shirts under the "Jail Cats" brand with a motif of cats or prison bars on the cooperative's website. Wednesday's show was a preview to the "Sartoria SanVittore" line they will launch in the Autumn.
"For them, it is a beautiful moment," Alessandro Brevi, of the Cooperative Alice said, adding that the show, the cooperative's fifth, was a call for distribution. "Initially we start with the Web site, then -- who knows -- maybe Paris."
The cooperative has operated for some 16 years in Milan's jails and the scheme aims to help women acquire skills for life outside prison. It takes former inmates to work at its office, making it easier for them to find a job once out of jail.