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Urbanella

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Team Members

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Shonali Shetty

Country

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Netherlands

Short Description

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Urbanella is a beyond season recyclable rain gear woven from second life materials.

Detailed Description

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In designing an alternative to umbrellas, we asked ourselves; What has made the umbrella so successful and everlasting? We arrived at the following conclusions: Portability - Lightweight and compact, Inclusive – all season, age & gender, Classic – can never go wrong irrespective of what you're wearing. In recreating this experience, we removed the unnecessary details and got to the circular canopy which forms the protective cover in an umbrella. Urbanella is made from a single piece circular fabric with no joining stitches. This helped us avoid the use of sealant which would otherwise reduce the recyclability of the material. We chose a OEKOTEX certified neutral colour that will make the product gender and age inclusive. We chose a lightweight and soft material with a satin finish and breathable waterproof film, making it stylish and wearable on any occasion. We made it portable i.e. packed in a small waterproof pouch to throw it in the bag straight after use.

Keywords

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recyclabe, circular, longlife, allseason, beyondgender, inclusive

Project Details

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Does your design take social and cultural challenges and human wellbeing into consideration?

Rain is a unpredictable and frequent occurrence in urban life. Yet, often frowned upon by busy city dwellers. It rains approximately 217 days in the Netherlands and about 156 days a year in the UK requiring a beyond season approach to rain fashion. Yet, there has been very little innovation in driving forward sustainable rain fashion. Seasonal plastic raincoats not only end up in landfills, but are also not wearable over a thick winter coat. As they are primarily for spring and summer rains. Making umbrellas the most convenient option round the year. Through our design we want to change consumer perception of rainwear and drive conscious consumption of rainwear as a long-term and sustainable investment.

Does your design support sustainable production, embodying circular or regenerative design practices?

Our challenge was to design a solution that could offer users the benefits of an everlasting product like the umbrella in a sustainable way. Nylon is the primary material used in an umbrella. The second material is metal which is the most sustainable material in an umbrella however is rarely recycled. Along with this, materials like fiber glass and plastic are used to offer it’s folding and clasping mechanisms. The use of multiple materials makes it quite a challenge for recycling. In designing an alternative to umbrellas, we asked ourselves; What has made the umbrella so successful and everlasting? We arrived at the following conclusions: Portability - Lightweight and compact, Inclusive – all season, age & gender, Classic – can never go wrong irrespective of what you're wearing. In recreating this experience, we removed the unnecessary details and got to the circular canopy which forms the protective cover in an umbrella. Urbanella is made from a single piece circular fabric with no joining stitches. This helped us avoid the use of sealant which would otherwise reduce the recyclability of the material. We chose a OEKOTEX certified neutral colour that will make the product season, gender and age inclusive. We chose a lightweight and soft material with a satin finish and breathable waterproof film, making it stylish and wearable on any occasion. We made it portable i.e. packed in a small waterproof pouch to throw it in the bag straight after use. Our biggest challenge was to source the right kind of waterproof coating that will allow for the recyclability of the material. We used a breathable, transparent 5000 mm waterproof coating on GRS certified recycled polyester which does not affect the softness of the material and does not add much to its weight. Ensuring a light and portable product and when worn depicts the graceful aesthetics of dancing in the rains.

Does your design use principles of distribution and open source?

We are currently targeting the B2B segment like airlines, hotels, and public sector jobs. In these segments a large amount of branded and cheap umbrellas are used and disposed every year. For this segment the basic design principles of urbanella will be customised on a need to need basis to offer branded and sustainable raingear. We are also working on take-back systems which will ensure end-to-end close-loop recycling.

Does your design promote awareness of responsible design and consumption?

We do not follow the seasonal fashion promotions. Since our launch we have one design that we are promoting. The versatility of the design allows for multiple looks in diverse ages and gender. In Febraury 2020 we showcased Urbanella in MFW with a single piece of design emphasizing the idea of slow fashion. We were the first brands to do that. We plan on pioneering and driving the idea on beyond season, beyond age and beyond gender.

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Project Website

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Social Media Accounts

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