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Designing Raincoats For Migrant Workers

By Guan Tan

 
 

Designed by Hubert Hoon, Chloe Liu, Leong Wei Tian, and Yawang Kritsanee. The raincoat responds to the workers' long working hours under intense heat and humidity of Singapore. It features a water bag that allows workers to drink from conveniently and stay hydrated.

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A black raincoat featuring spacious pockets and compartments by Nang Mone Khan, Zhang An Ping, and Yue Ya Nan. The students wanted to help workers keep their personal belongings close to them, and dry in wet weather.

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By Khoo Su Ann, Song Ci, and He Ye Fan, this raincoat converts into a lightweight cushion for workers to sit or nap on during lunch breaks.

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A raincoat designed by Ahmad Yani Bin Mazlan, Andric Chia Qi Rong, Arina Rubinskaya, and Bui Le Cam Ngoc. It folds into a triangular pillow.

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By Liang Bai Yi, Xie Qiao Shan Mikayla, Zhang Bi Wei, and Yang Wen Qi, the raincoat folds into a pillow for workers to rest on.

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Designed by Kelvin Ng Choon Hean, Bang Seo Young, Tasha Arora, Natalie Su, and Aditi Milind Rane, this is a dual-function raincoat that serves as both a sleeping bag and mat. It's made of second-hand tents, keeping sustainability in mind.

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An IKEA bag raincoat designed by Suriya s/o Ashokan, Celine Goh, Anuva Madan, and Simran Mootha. Programme leader Ginette Chittick notes that the idea was conceptualised prior to Balenciaga's IKEA bag series launch. The raincoat opens up to a mat for workers to lunch and rest on at work sites.

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 A lime-green raincoat prototype designed by Netty Susanty, Natalie Christy Tjia, Eint Kyaw Khine, Wong Qi Yuan, and Mutiara Kristal. It draws from the construction of Japanese kimonos.

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Designed by Sri Suziliana, Lai Lam Fave, Liang Liu Qing, and Gayle Soong, the raincoat collapses into a portable fanny pack.

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Circulating in the local news last year end was a lawyer, Dipa Swaminathan. She embarked on a personal project gifting prepaid mobile credit cards, raincoats, clothing, and food to Hindu foreign workers on the eve of Deepavali. The project was christened, 'itsrainingraincoats'. 

Coincidentally a lady named Ginette Chittick came across this article on Facebook. Chittick is also the programme leader of the Diploma in Fashion course at LASELLE College of the Arts. She proposed to continue initiative with her students. 

"Our students could design dual-function or sustainable raincoats – ones that could be transformed into floor mats or sleeping bags," Chittick quips. Living in Singapore, she often witnessed how migrant workers take afternoon naps or dine on the floor at construction sites. 

She gave her design students a simple brief – to meet migrant workers at their workplace, speak to them and learn of their needs. 

"The aim was for students to see themselves placed in a community rather than siloed in the spheres of their own existence. Design is about empathy. You're always designing for someone else," Chittick concludes."