So the Mayan calendar was wrong and the world didn’t end in 2012. But that doesn’t mean we can relax about it. A growing movement of Preppers insist that we’re still on the edge of disaster and encourage vigilant preparedness for Doomsday. If you listen to the diehard Preppers, you should be arming yourself daily with a heavy load of survival gear and goods, because you just never know when the hammer will fall.
Though not a Prepper herself, French designer Marie-Elsa Batteux understood that the apocalypse expectant had a design problem and decided to streamline survival devices into one sleek, apocalypse-resistant jacket. Batteux tells Co.Design, “The Prepping movement is actually getting more popular and more exposed, so I tried to picture a world where Prepping becomes mainstream and gets integrated into the DNA of everyday products.”
Titled “We Are On the Edge,” the project was Batteux’s thesis at Eindhoven Design Academy this year. A video called “On the Edge” explains the jacket’s every function.
The silver camouflage jacket is equipped with ninja-esque blades for self-defense, and flotation devices for when the ice caps finish melting. An oxygen mask and an eye protector unroll from its hood. Water and food supplies are packed into the lining, along with a first-aid kit. Neon signaling devices unfurl like bat wings from the sleeves. Most stylish of all, it includes a built-in golden space blanket for warmth in extreme temperatures. Remarkably, it doesn’t make you look like a walking suitcase. Perhaps fashion will outlive us all.
Says Batteux. “I actually believe that if something comes and leads to the End of the World, there won’t be much we’ll be able to do.” The designer tried to interview Preppers in her research but found it was difficult because, she says, “They won’t trust someone who’s not part of the movement.” But one Dutch Prepper did open up to her about when, why, and how he started readying himself for Doomsday. The jacket is also printed with a set of instructions detailing how to make it through various disasters, adapted directly from Prepping manuals Batteux came across.
The jacket garnered unexpected attention at Dutch Design Week this year. One day, it could evolve into a commercially available product.
The human desire for control is so strong, says the designer, that “I believe Prepping can really become the next big design trend, the way sustainability did a few years ago.”