In the wake of big festivals like Coachella or Glastonbury, you’ll find trash and the ravages of partying littered across the whole site. Oddly enough, you’ll also find loads of abandoned, but useful gear like phone chargers, couches and, most frequently, tents. A creative Dutch designer now has an idea on how to repurpuse the latter: turn them into suits that double as sleeping bags for the homeless.
Bas Timmer, and associate Alexander de Groot, were inspired by the tragic passing of a friend’s father due to hypothermia. Seeing how thousands of people live on streets, even in socially advanced communities like those found in the Netherlands, the two decided they had to pitch in somehow. Eventually, they came up with the “Sheltersuit” a wind- and water resistant jacket and sleeping bag, made out of water repellent and insulating fabrics – all donated. Old jackets, tents, tarps and so on can be used.
Helping manufacture the Sheltersuits are volunteers, but also Syrian refugees who are provided with accommodation, driving lessons and assimilation courses in exchange for their work.
By day, the Sheltersuit can be worn like any regular jacket as the sleeping bag can be detached from the main jacket and stored in a waterproof tote. By night, the sleeping bag is reattached via zippers. “We wanted to offer everyone the means to stay warm, dry, and safe when sleeping outside in cold climates,” Timer told the crowd at TEDxSaxionUniversity in September.
The Sheltersuits will of course be distributed at no cost. Timmer hopes they can spread 2,500 across the Netherlands and another 50 in Paris this month. Any like-minded people, organizations or business are encouraged to reach out.