Dezeen and MINI World Tour: graduate designer Martijn Van Strien explains that his range of coats made from single sheets of black tarpaulin are designed for an imagined future world where money and resources are in short supply.
Dystopian Brutalist Outerwear, which Van Strien exhibited at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show during Dutch Design Week last year, consists of five coats made out of cut sheets of folded tarpaulin.
"It's a kind of trend forecast for a dystopian future that, when everything is not so great with the economic stuff that's going on right now, we might be heading towards," says Van Strien. "It will be cold; people will be unhappy; we'll be living in buildings that are just grey blocks. These are coats that we could produce for people that don't have a lot of money, when we don't have a lot of materials, when a coat needs to last for a lifetime."
Van Strien says he chose tarpaulin because it is cheap, resilient and simple to work with.
"[The coats] are all cut from a single piece of black tarpaulin," he says. "You then have to weld the parts together with heat. In the front I've made closures with magnets and that's pretty much it. This material is super easy to work with, you don't need to finish it or anything and it will last forever."
The coats were designed to provoke a reaction and make people think about where the world could be heading, Van Strien says.
"A lot of people feel a bit creeped out [by the coats] and that is the goal, that we think about how we're handling our social malaise," he explains. "I see myself as a fashion designer, so I've looked at this from a purely aesthetic point of view. But the thought behind it is something that I feel very strongly about. I never make a garment just because it's pretty, it always has to tell a story."
Despite being designed for a future that does not exist yet, Van Strien says he has been approached by a number of people interested in putting the coats into production.
"I was not planning on putting these coats into production when I first made them, it was just a statement," he says. "But a couple of parties have come up and they asked me if I wanted to take them into production so now I'm considering it."