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This Jailed Egyptian Activist’s “Made In Prison” Handbags Are A Political Fashion Statement

Asmaa Hamdy maintains her own line of knitted items as she serves a five-year prison term.

Photo via the Free Asmaa Masr Facebook page.

In July of last year, Asmaa Hamdy was among hundreds of students imprisoned for participating in protests against the military junta that removed democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi from power. Today, the dentistry student remains in prison, serving a five-year term, but she’s found something to occupy her time: knitting her own line of “Made In Prison” handbags. Hamdy had been knitting the bags for her friends and family on the outside when she began fielding requests from fellow prisoners. Her fiance, Ibrahim Ragab, says Hamdy’s knitting is not just a fashion statement but a political one.


“It’s just to deliver a message,” says Ragab told the Guardian. “Even if you’re jailing us, you can’t stop us: our souls are free. Whatever happens, prison won’t stop our imagination. As Asmaa is always saying, we’re beyond breaking point.”

Hamdy has since expanded her line of wool items to include scarves, bracelets and knitted pencil cases. Prison authorities have forced Hamdy to remove the “Made In Prison” label before exporting them to the outside world, but the meaning of her work perseveres.

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Julian Meehan

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