In the midst of his fashion studies, Bas received some news that shook him. The father of his friend passed away while sleeping outside. He died from hypothermia, on an evening that was 8 degrees. He was sleeping next to a homeless shelter which on that night, wasn’t open. Bas felt uncomfortable. Especially because at the time, he was producing one-of-a-kind, luxury outerwear, something that felt so foreign to the situation. But Bas also felt compelled to change.
He looked at the jacket designs, pulled some materials together (an old sleeping bag and a tent) and in 5 hours made a jacket with an additional piece to become a sleeping bag. This is what would become the first ever Sheltersuit. He took it to a shelter and approached a man sleeping near the shelter, offering him the suit. Immediately, Bas noticed him lower his guard, open up, and show interest. The man asked if he could share it with two friends, as they were living in conditions even worse than he. But Bas promised to return with more. After gathering the materials, resources and donations required, Sheltersuit produced their first 100 products. Bas returned, delivering the sheltersuits to the man’s friends, partnering with that shelter and founding Sheltersuit.
7 years on, Sheltersuit exists in The Netherlands, South Africa and the United States, each offering products designed for the local climate, local people and their needs. We also saw an opportunity to hire newcomers and people with a distance to the labour force to produce Sheltersuits, and they agreed to use repurposed materials wherever possible. In this way, a Sheltersuit is an impactful product in itself, and goes beyond the possibility of providing warmth, comfort and dignity.