Grassroots Innovation | Humanitarian Design and the power of change


Abject Object is a design enterprise that supports homeless individuals and shelters through the design, production, and sale of retail accessories made from reclaimed materials. A hands-on rather than handout model for social and economic empowerment, Abject Object teaches valuable job skills including sewing, production, and business strategies, to homeless individuals.

The Los Angeles team of Project H partnered with the Downtown Women’s Center, a shelter in central Los Angeles, to develop four retail products that could be made using basic sewing skills, and whose function would have retail marketability, as well as tell stories about the women who made them.

The design team and women from Downtown Women’s Center worked side by side for three months on the development and prototyping of four products, each with a double-function:

1. A Bag that transforms into a hammock,

2. A “pocket scarf” that can be used as storage,

3. A hood garment that doubles as a tote bag, and

4. A cloth mat whose pieces can be used as pot-holders.

All materials were scavenged or donated, and included recycled bike inner tubes, parachutes, donated clothing, and rope. The sale and proceeds of all four products, which will be sold through local and online retailers, go back directly to the individual who made the item, and the shelter. Using the Downtown Women’s Center as a first client, the team has now developed a manual, user guide, training program, and resource kit for additional shelters in the area to launch their own in-house Abject Object enterprises.

Inspiration: Frangia Eco Chic

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About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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