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Desert Camping

For our potential future home

A recent stay in the desert inspired this collection for outdoor brand Odlo, called Desert camping.

For me it was important to outline the unique desert environment as a territory, untapped by designers so far, and create designs for products, which feel relevant to the current climate crisis.

The distance of the dunes to any reality outside of a Berber nomadic or Bedouin camp makes the desert the perfect spot to recharge and reconnect to oneself. Another reason why it is so important to highlight this kind of environment when designing is that, sadly, it might turn out to be our future home. As we see increases in soil erosion, rapid fires and destructive climate change, we might need to adapt to a new reality, which also includes our apparel.

Questions I asked myself during the design phase, looking materials, trims and construction solutions included ‘What type of climate is most typical for the desert?’; ‘What relevant elements of protection need to be implemented?; ‘Which areas of the body need most protection’. I found some answers in the solutions the outdoor industry currently offers, however, many areas, including sustainability, efficiency and durability, leave much to be desired. Therefore, I included some industry solutions which are currently under development and will be more reliable in the future.

Apart from functionality, aesthetic was extremely important when designing those garments. I eagerly took inspiration from the colours of the desert at various stages of the day, and used the wind-shaped sand dunes, desert rocks, and water reflection in desert wells as a starting point when designing the the all over prints.

For the garments, I chose to focus on a base layer with integrated sand protection, sand- and windproof 3 layer jacket and hardshell zip-off pants, all with integrated UV-protection and anti-odour treatment.

For the add-on hood and pocket vest, I chose to integrate mini solar panels, and for all garments I decided for biodegradability and circularity to be main design reference points. This way, the garments become their own eco system, much like the desert itself.

Sand drainage and storage were also essential, therefore, many cargo pockets and drainage holes have been integrated into each garment, apart from the skin-tight base layer.

The many daisy chains straps provide additional storage options, while the necessary stretch panels and adjustable closures insure comfort and protection.

To close off, I believe this project has a relevant meaning, as well as outstanding visuals. And, if it has done nothing but offer some food for thought, I consider it extremely successful.