A Coat as a Shelter?

What is your trigger point, the moment when you see a wrong and feel you just have to do something about it?


For Dutch clothing designer Bas Timmer, it was in 2014 when a friend’s father succumbed to hypothermia after being unable to find adequate shelter. Bas had started his own outdoor, cold weather clothing line, but then he saw a higher purpose in providing for the homeless.

His solution was to design and manufacture the Sheltersuit, a windproof, waterproof jacket which also comes with a sleeping bag that attaches to the jacket’s lower edge. The exterior is made of donated tent fabric, with the inside typically lined with old sleeping bags.

The Sheltersuits and summer-version Shelterbags are made and distributed by Timmer’s Sheltersuit Foundation (https://sheltersuit.com/), which has three purposes —

  • Provide shelter to those in need
  • Repurpose leftover materials from the fashion industry to cut waste
  • Provide jobs and opportunities for people like former refugees and homeless individuals

The Sheltersuit Foundation’s products are distributed free of charge, usually through local non-governmental organizations. The foundation is truly international, with locations in New York, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Unfortunately, a Sheltersuit cannot address the root causes of homelessness. But it can provide warmth and protection to the most vulnerable. Sometimes that’s the first step.

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