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15 Below: Stuff it yourself winter jacket for the Homeless

12.21.2007 @ 2:04 PM in Buffalo

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Winter sucks up here in Buffalo, and Toronto gets even chillier. While we bundle up in layers or furry coats, the homeless are left to huddle in alleyways with absolutely nothing. Whatever they have, they stuff with newspaper to keep as warm as they can. You can only stuff so many tabloids into a ratty sweater, though.

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Enter 15 Below, an innovative marketing ploy charity operation created by Toronto ad firm Taxi. They've developed a lightweight jacket that is waterproof, windproof, and has multiple bubble pockets all over that can be stuffed with newspaper to provide an effective shield against the cold. 3000 of these jackets will be distributed around Toronto. I wonder if Buffalo can get a few for Sly and the other unfortunates that will end up sleeping in my apartment foyer this winter. Big Question: does it work? see for yourself: [flv width="600" height="338"]http://buffawhat.com/files/video/15b-FL8480x270.flv[/flv]
  • The Fabric The 15 Below jacket is constructed of black Aquamax, laminated with a non-porous hydrophilic membrane. The fabric is waterproof, windproof, lightweight yet strong and durable, as well as breathable.
  • The Construction The lining is constructed of multiple pockets – two in the hood, four in the chest, one large pocket in the back, and one down each sleeve. Newspaper, long used to retain body heat by athletes, can be scrunched into balls and stuffed into the pockets for adjustable temperature protection. The coat is an anorak style, with adjustable cuffs, and drawstrings in the hood and hem help block out wind. The foldaway hood can conveniently be stored in the collar when not in use. Waterproof zippers and taped seams prevent leakage and help keep both the wearer and the paper dry. Underarm eyelets provide ventilation.
  • The Versatility Stuffed, the 15 Below jacket can be worn as a winter coat. Stuffing removed, it can be worn as a raincoat. When not being worn, the jacket can be folded into a backpack for easy transportation, or used as a pillow.
“It’s a lifeline for people without homes. They’re a pretty low-cost, immediate way to address a huge issue,” said Paul Lavoie, co-founder, chairman, and chief creative officer of TAXI. “Our approach to solving problems – of any sort – has always been to question convention. This won’t eliminate homelessness, but it can make a lot of people more comfortable.” On behalf of clients and staff, 3,000 15 Below jackets will be donated to people living on the streets throughout Canada and the U.S. this winter.