homeless Needy
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Fashion Designer Creates Warm and Portable 3 In 1 Jackets for The Homeless


Gauteng, South Africa (11 June 2021) – The homeless are a new customer for a Johannesburg fashion designer whose designs have adorned runways and advertising. Carlo Gibson’s most recent design is the “homeless home,” a three-in-one sleeping bag, carry bag, and jacket.

“Covid-19 forced me to reconsider my ideas. It made me realize that we’re all in this together, and I needed to adjust my perspective on life,” he told the Sunday Times

“I went out on the streets, interviewed homeless individuals, and attempted to put myself in their position to build something for them as a designer. A lot of the design was inspired by encounters with the folks I’ll be cooking for.

“They told me they needed something warm and portable, something they could carry on their shoulders throughout the day and use as a jacket when it was cold.”

Gibson’s design, created in partnership with University of Johannesburg (UJ) students, is functional. The canvas sleeping bag has pockets for storing additional clothes or newspapers, which may be used as insulation.

Gibson donated 45 jackets during the course of a week in which Johannesburg saw the coldest days of the year, with temperatures plunging below zero on several nights.

He hopes to earn enough money via crowdfunding to create another 100 products before the end of the month. Back-A-Buddy and his NGO page, Make-Good, on Facebook and Instagram offer the sleeping bags for R389 apiece. However, he claims that he does not benefit from the sales.

“We recognise that we are not fixing the cause [of homelessness], but the result of the issue is being chilly… So we are attempting to assist where and how we can.”

Tlotlo Sereisho, a UJ student who assisted with the project, said he and three other visual arts students helped construct prototypes. He said that working on the project was an honour for him. “The timing couldn’t have been better since it’s quite chilly right now.”

According to the city’s department of social development, the number of homeless persons has grown in the last year as a result of Covid-19 employment losses.

Arnold Mabunda, who travelled to Johannesburg from KwaZulu-Natal in search of job, is one of the homeless. He endured one of the coldest nights of his life in a Hillbrow park.

“It truly isn’t a wonderful place to be,” he said, “but this is life for us.”

People were nicer to individuals on the street in the cold, he claimed.

“Perhaps they place themselves in our position, but my luck changes when it rains or becomes cold,” he said. During these instances, he will be provided shoes, a blanket, or a jersey.

According to the City of Johannesburg, it gave blankets, beds, hygiene supplies, and personal protective equipment to individuals living on the streets during the previous fiscal year.

There are three city-run permanent shelters in Johannesburg and a tent village serving as a shelter near Wembley Stadium in Turffontein. However, because of Covid19 limits, the biggest municipal shelter in Braamfontein can only accommodate 250 people.


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Sources: eNCA | Sunday Times | Make-Good
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