A team of designers from the UK recently created a jacket that could be used by Syrians refugees as a shelter.
I initially had some mixed feelings about this design, and they were only amplified when I read that it is made out of Tyvek….the same Tyvek used for protective apparel, cargo coverings, and sterile packaging. In other words, a material that does not provide insulation in cold weather.This suit, while not a panacea, would need to be paired with efforts to give refugees blankets and other forms of insulation. Thinking of other weather situations, Tyvek does not breath well in warm weather either. It would, however, be easy to clean after long periods of time.
Lastly, the 3-in-1 design can only be implemented one at a time. You can’t wear the “shelter” while also using it as a sleeping bag. Who has time to convert this piece of clothing? Who will offer training for this? Is it enough to disseminate a video tutorial? What measures are being taken to prevent potential suffocation? I have so many questions.
By and large, it worries me that this design is being created on the behalf of a population instead of with their consultation, but that’s another debate and not entirely realistic given the complexity of the situation. Even so, it’s hard to label the entire design as ludicrous. As one poster on a discussion forum stated,
Researching a bit, I found this is idea isn’t novel and has been implemented for homeless people in the Netherlands:
In Japan, wearable sleeping bags are available in several forms:
And more designs from around the world…http://weburbanist.com/2012/07/01/padding-around-12-cozy-wearable-sleeping-bags/
The most aesthetically pleasing design goes to:
I’m not the biggest fan of the wearable sleeping bag concept, but something about it intrigues me. There must be a reason why designers are reconceptualizing this idea over and over again…even though it can only go so far. Personally, I think this should remain in the consumer realm and out of humanitarian policy…but that’s just me.