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New York Times: Altering Clothes, and Lives, With Design

March 1, 2012

By JENNIFER CONLIN

 

Mike Forbes, 27, a classmate of Ms. Scott’s and then a junior, similarly focused on the city’s neediest cases, deciding to design the Ulterior Survival Bag, which transforms into a boot. (The bag’s rubber base becomes the sole of a shoe when turned inside out.) “I saw how many people in Detroit were suffering from frostbite and trench foot, and with a shortage of winter footwear it seemed the right product to try to design,” Mr. Forbes recalled.

“It is meant to provide the homeless with a better option than garbage bags, which they usually use to carry their stuff and cover their feet,” he said.

Mr. Forbes also runs a charitable T-shirt company, Anymile Clothing (a play off the Eight Mile thoroughfare in Detroit), which helps support local families facing hardship. By selling these shirts at concerts and music festivals, he hopes to finance more research and development to perfect his boot.

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Its truly an honor to be in the NY Times. I feel privileged to have others be so enthusiastic about the work I do. It's amazing to me that a project I started two years ago continues to gain so much traction where as in the beginning I was considered crazy for pursuing a design intended for homeless individuals in Detroit. That frustration inspired Anymile because finding funding and resources to continue developing the U.S.B. was difficult. I came up against barriers so I thought a better way to communicate with the general public about homelessness and the less fortunate would be to develop a brand that people could associate themselves with and in turn I hoped would inspire community activism in Detroit and beyond. By creating www.AnymileClothing.com ; Armando (Co-Founder of Anymile) and I set out to combine my creativity with clothing to achieve that connection with the general public. To us it made sense as a way to build a business not on tee shirts but on the idea of a brand with a deeper meaning woven into the fabric of what makes a brand a brand. Anymile Clothing what it is; a vehicle to engage the public, excite them, and inspire change. We feel we are achieving our goal already which has now started to come full circle now with more recognition of the U.S.B. since it placed as a finalist design for the 2010 IDEA awards. Pursuing the new concepts of the U.S.B. is becoming more and more possible thanks to all of the support we get through Anymile and that is an amazing thing that is absolutely incredible to the both of us. With the release of new spring gear for 2012 we hope to attract more and more people to become familiar with this project during summer events. Our goal is to do pilot tests of new designs with Detroit's homeless this next winter where we plan to distribute them free of charge to those in need. The quanity of U.S.B.'s is to be determined but our hopes are that by the end of summer 2012 we will be able to make a significant contribution to local charities and the advancement of the Ulterior Survival Bag. Thank You so much for the continued support!!! Anymile Clothing: This isn't fashion...It's a Movement! Support the movement at www.anymileclothing.com Thank You!

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