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  • Writer's pictureClarissa Ward


being cold is something everyone else has a switch on the wall which means that in 10 minutes time, the hot water pipes will be flowing and they'll get warm again. or they'll plug in an electric heater, or knock up a hot cuppa from the kettle. in modern society there is very little 'work' to do in terms of staying comfortable, things are increasingly given to us on a plate and the innate survival instincts we used to have are being lost.

being cold in a van is a whole different story. you cannot understand cold until you've experienced waking up at 6am unable to fall asleep again because rainwater has come through the chimney and ice is forming along the windows. the fire keeping you warm from the night before has been reduced to sad, soggy embers that need to be swept out, dried and cleaned before you can have a fire again. the engine will probably take a while to start, that is if your battery still has any juice in it because out of the 100 things you had to prepare before going to bed you managed to leave one of the internal lights on at the front, so now you need a jump start. ugh.

also, mud and sand get absolutely fucking everywhere so you have to do an awkward sweep of the floor from your position on the bed so your bare cold little tootsies don't get unnecessarily more dirty. my dad told me once that 'any man can live like a pig', which is very true, and my aim is not to live like a pig in my van, but sometimes it's easy to fall into bad habits when the upkeep routine is monotonous and long.

of course temperate climes are what you want when you're living on the road, but having been born and bred in england, the cold is what we've got, so the cold is what we work with.

my aim with this collection is to create clothing which makes all of these less glamorous parts of living in a van a whole lot more comfortable. one thing i've noticed which is quite difficult is literally getting changed in the mornings when the air temperature is below zero and getting naked is something you DO NOT want to do. the idea of clothing which is 'double-layered' or a similar concept so that you take off the dirty outer layer from the day and you're already wearing something underneath which you can sleep in, then in the morning you just add the top layer again and you don't have to have the whole cold naked thing.

ABOVE : the cosy little log burner in herby, my van. it was handmade by the great guys at zesty surf co who sold me the van in february 2017, the chimney flue sticks out between the bars of my roof rack and has a little flap that came off a tractor to try and stop rainwater coming through.

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