The Backet

Rosa Weinberg and 2 OthersCarlos Alvarenga
Gavin Zaentz

The Backet addresses primarily the issue of stigma against people carrying multiple bags by internalizing storage in the lining of a winter jacket. Beyond addressing stigma, The Backet has the benefit of addressing three additional issues: increased warmth (e.g. a sleeping bag stored in the jacked provides extra insulation), storage, and safekeeping for valuables. We took a jacket and replaced its lining with a fancy fabric with zippered storage. Two huge pockets in the back of the jacket provide space for large items, such as shoes, a sleeping bag or an extra sweater. Four smaller pockets in the front of the jacket provide space for smaller items.


Gavin Zaentz and Carlos Alvarenga

Our process started off with a brainstorming of issues that homeless people face. This yielded many ideas, both practical and conceptual in nature. We decided that we wanted to work on something that helped people and raised awareness. We had two experts come in to talk to us about homelessness, Dr. Avik Chatterjee, a doctor at a number of shelter clinics and Diane Sullivan,  Policy Director at Homes for Families. After these conversations, my team sat down and decided to work on a project dealing with the negative stigma towards homeless people, specifically the negative stigma towards homeless people who are carrying their belongings in large backpacks and plastic bags. We decided the best way to deal with this issue was to conceal their belongings in large pockets inside a coat. We bought a coat from Goodwill and removed the lining, replacing it with pockets that ranged in size and type to accommodate a variety of objects. All of the pockets have zippers, but one of the pockets is a 3D pocket to carry bigger items such as sleeping bags or many pieces of clothes. For the remainder of the studio, we designed and sewed the eight interior pockets paying close attention to the seams and zippers. The coat came out beautifully and we are very proud of this project.