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Design for Humanity

A strategic response with the use of a multipurpose garment for flooding in New York City.


Mohtasham Mani


The multipurpose jacket that was created for this project is designed for people who don’t have access to the proper gear for flooding. The purpose of the jacket is to allow people to comfortably and safely get through a flood. It is a fully functional and waterproof garment which has two bottom pieces at two different lengths, the first bottom piece covers the thigh to knee region, the second piece covering your legs fully. The knee length piece is to be used if you’re on the move, covering the upper part of your legs to give additional protection. While the second piece, which fully covers the users legs, is supposed to be used if you’re already in a flood situation where you can’t relocate and the water levels are rising as well.


There were a few challenges that arose after my extensive research and product development throughout the two semesters. The first challenge that I felt was with focusing on a single user group to make the project more achievable. I was told through different rounds of feedback that I should focus on a small group of people to start the project for, which led me to designing for people who are in high risk flood zones. At first I was aiming to design for all people who don’t have access to proper waterproof equipment, but this was too far of a stretch for achievability. My next challenge was having to use heavyweight Nylon which is semi-waterproof, so a sort of placeholder for a future version which would be developed with professional grade fabric (Gore-Tex).


In the end I was able to design for a gap that I took away from my interviews. Instead of having multiple items for one thing, this jacket is an all in one product which takes away the reason for any other jacket. As this was a 2nd iteration of this jacket I am truly pleased with the progress I've made since the first time I made this jacket. I am glad to see this idea continue in my studies and now into my art and work.

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