In het kort
- Homeless people and refugees need protection against harsh weather conditions
- water- and windproof jacket that can transform into a sleeping bagoffers a weather-proof and mobile shelter
The Sheltersuit sleeping jackets including the bag and detachable sleeping bag are mainly made by people with poor job prospects in The Netherlands. Mostly these are refugees with a residence permit from Syria and Afghanistan who worked as tailors in their home country. Sheltersuit in Enschede gives these people a stage to integrate into the Dutch society. Through charitable organisations such as Johnny de Mol's Movement on the Ground, the Sheltersuits are handed out in refugee camps.
From March 2018, Jurrie Barkel, project manager of the Sheltersuit foundation, partnered with the DesignLab Universiteit Twente and Saxion lectoraat Smart Functional Materials to innovate the Sheltersuit. The Sheltersuit is transformed into an "Urban Safety Kit" using electronics. An electronic module protects victims against hypothermia. The project plan was written in the context of WEARsustain, an EU horizon 2020 project that grants the cooperation 50,000 euros to develop and test the Urban Safety Kit module in the Sheltersuit.
The three contributing project partners are Sheltersuit, DesignLab University of Twente and the Saxion Smart Functional Materials research group. Each partner utilises their expertise within the project. DesignLab connects students and researchers from different disciplines to jointly develop and test the electronic module. Saxion Lectorate Smart Functional Materials facilitates the expertise regarding smart textiles and finally, Sheltersuit focuses on the business model and production of the Urban Safety Kit.
“The Sheltersuit idea was born a few years ago after a homeless friend of ours froze to death on the street. This being possible in a country like The Netherlands was unacceptable to us”, says Bas Timmer, fashion designer of the Sheltersuit. “I wanted to make a practical contribution to better living conditions for the homeless. That is how the Sheltersuit was born, and now it is also available for refugees. The jackets are made from rejected Nomad sleeping bags and other sleeping bags that are left behind at festivals, combined with material from TenCate Outdoor Fabrics from Nijverdal. Their weather-resistant textile is wind- and waterproof. Perfect for the Sheltersuit”.
TenCate Outdoor Fabrics has been producing high-quality tent fabrics for decades and is the market leader in Europe. Residual lots or fabrics that do contain all protective specifications but do not pass the final inspection due to a weaving error cannot be used for tent cloth. “We are happy to reuse this quality fabric in a sustainable way through sponsoring Sheltersuit”, says Rob Verver, director of TenCate Outdoor Fabrics. “We are working to protect people in their work and living environment on a daily basis, for example in the outdoor sector. It is great that we have been able to help homeless people to survive the winter for a few years now, and recently were also able to help refugees. Being able to help in this way is excellent.”