[Off Topic] Fashion design for Syrian refugees

RCA students in London design wearable dwelling for Syrian refugees

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,

“Design” doesn’t need to exist in EVERYTHING. Nor should it resolve EVERYTHING. 

Researching a bit, I found this is idea isn’t novel and has been implemented for homeless people in the Netherlands:

Sheltersuit was created by Bas Timmer in collaboration with business parter Alexander de Groot, and was prompted by the death of a friend’s father who had been living on the street..Sheltersuits are made from abandoned tents collected from vacated music festival sites.

In Japan, wearable sleeping bags are available in several forms:

Wearable Air Mattress / Sleeping Bag Suit

 

Gotta love the pop out feet

 

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:

2012 MPWR Coat….but it’s not waterproof

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.

Memory Foam Pants

The high-end fashion industry thrives off of our innate desire to show off our individuality. The higher the cost of the item, the greater the implied rarity. As a result, price points become a way to ensure individuality. But its bigger than that, right? (and bigger than my simplified economic logic…high prices don’t always guarantee sparsity or even quality –> cue the cynic.)

There so many brands on the scene that assure consumers that they have a one of a kind item or that some part of the manufacturing process causes each piece of clothing to have its own flair and differentiation. Its great and scary at the same time. Sometimes people just want what’s in the picture/presentation. Anyway…INDIVIDUALITY REIGNS SUPREME. 

I talked this over with a coworker the other day. I was shocked by a rather interesting question posed during the commute:

What if our clothing was made out of memory foam? And it molded into our shape upon contact and just stayed that way?

I chuckled a bit after hearing this. I sleep well because of memory foam, but the material itself is pretty bulky…has a bit of a chemical smell when first purchased. Still… the question prompted me to google “memory foam pants” like crazy. I didn’t find any, but I came across this funky fashion project:

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 2.05.51 AM

More about them:

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Their bio is serving a lot of things at once and I really hope I don’t see anyone walking around like these models. But…there’s something about this project that’s worth thinking about.

Apples

I always thought that the story of Isaac Newton was utter BS. There’s no way that this man sat under an apple tree, had a ball of sugar, starch and fiber hit his head, and then not only understand gravitational force but influence the world and generations to come. And it didn’t happen like that. The apple never hit his head. It probably hit a worm or squirrel he was staring at off in the distance. Who knows. But I still can’t believe he saw that and walked away with a better understanding of anything…let alone gravity. Call me a cynic. 

Well…I thought this way until a moment ago. Yes a moment ago. I’m on a business trip in an unexpected location (so descriptive, right?). In the hotel lobby, I saw a boy wearing shorts (Omg. Are you kidding? What a discovery.) Bare with me please. He had two prosthetic legs. That in itself is nothing to gawk at. Shit happens and technology fixes it. But I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that the prostheses were not the same. One had a circular joint at the knee and was connect to the foot by a simple shaft. The other lacked the ball shaped joint and instead branched in two from the straight joint to the foot. This was a cursory view and I’m not sure if I’m describing each limb correctly.  I didn’t want to be that ignorant weirdo staring or asking basic (look it up on urban dictionary) questions. 

Long story short…I may have had my apple moment. 


Remember…I’m trying to make functional and adjustable pants. Not doing this for kicks and giggles. 
Couldn’t end without a Bechdel Tune. It’s full of sass, sarcasm, and admiration:

 

Leather Jackets FTW

This post is dedicated to examples of Form + Function in fashion, especially designs that incorporate adjustable features. This is a great way to waste time until I figure out how to make pants.

Basic addition to sleeves/pant legs. Nothing new

My coat needs this right now. Yup, those are backpack straps on a jacket. This would make bike riding/surviving in Chicago’s weird climate so much easier.

This coat has come a long way. The design was initially baggy and misshapen, but the designer has amped things up a bit. I really hope they can push this to the next level as the years go on. I still wouldn’t be caught dead in this coat.

Still on the lookout for other pieces like this.

Also, here’s a special shout out to a friend of mine who created an anonymous tumblr called Bechdel Tunes devoted to collecting songs that are NOT about people. Time to scour my music to give a few suggestions. 

Check it Out!

Check it Out!