The natural inclination to escape from the fast pace and constant visual stimulus that is city life is a pretty common response for any human (and particularly any New Yorker). When the skyscrapers and constant car horns get to be too much, why not steal away to a personal oasis? Better yet, carry that oasis with you at all times... in your own jacket. If you do happen to be seeking escape on a moment's notice, the recent design projects of Justin Gargasz will jettison you out into the wild—or at least the nearest park.
It appears we are destined to be a generation of new-age nomads as a result of technology, constant career changes and unprecedented mobility. Is a constant search for how best to return to nature an inevitable side effect of modern life? Maybe, maybe not... but enough people cringe at the idea of life in the big city that need to escape is a viable design problem.
When we first encountered Gargasz's wearable tent structures in 2009, it was an interesting concept placed somewhere between the blurred realms of fashion, furniture and architecture. At the time, he was fresh out of design school and we were impressed with the Boston-based designer's first 'modern cocoon,' named Vessel. Four years later, Gargasz has spun the project into a full-fledged line of nomadic structures that can just easily be warn on a chilly day in the city as a hiking trip out west. His designs are created not only to shelter the wearer physically but as a play on the need to escape psychologically from a world filled with distractions.
With the addition of two new jacket designs; Alt+0 and Luxe join Vessel to round out the three-piece 'Sans Shelter' collection. All three designs borrow methods that Gargasz researched during his travels in Northern India, where he discovered wrapping, folding and packing techniques found in traditional Indian clothing.
In contrast to what some might call the Veronika Scott method of designing for a social issue, Gargasz approaches wearable architecture with the typical Millennial in mind. His designs aim to please the Coachella-attending, blog-updating, twenty-something who's more likely to escape their New York matchbox apartment then a desolate Detroit winter.
Still, Gargasz hits the mark aesthetically, engineering a garment and shelter in one sleek package. We would love to see a collaboration Scott and Gargasz collaboration, but for the time being, we think the Sans collection shows promise. We wish him the best finding a manufacturing partner and impromptu camping. You can check out more of Justin Gargasz's wearables and footwear over on Coroflot.
Teshia Treuhaft is a Michigan-born designer. Upon graduating from back-to-back degrees, a BFA from the University of Michigan and MFA of Furniture Design from RISD, she moved to Berlin to pursue a research project considering shifting paradigms in design education. Teshia currently works at the tangible UX startup Senic.