MANY may walk past homeless people in dire straits and hardly ever notice them, but a Griffith teenager has used images she sees every day to help address the troubling social dilemma.
Griffith's Lucy Forlico, who attended St Vincent's College, Potts Point had her major Higher School Certificate design and technology project selected for an exhibition of the best works from over 3000 submitted to the NSW Board of Studies last year.
The 19-year-old designed and made a dual-purpose garment for displaced people to protect them from the outside elements.
The CapeBag serves as a cape during the day and a sleeping bag with inflatable pillow at night.
It offers protection with its waterproof and breathable material and includes a security function with a light and whistle.
"My motivation came from the reality of homelessness and the need to try and find shelter," Lucy said.
"Around Potts Point there are lots of homeless people and I drew inspiration from them.
"The idea just developed and I began to look at different disasters and how people get displaced after them.
"Worldwide there is a huge number of displaced people that need urgent protection from the outside elements post-natural disasters and war. The CapeBag was made out of non-woven polypropylene (which is the fabric of environmentally friendly shopping bags) enabling it to be mass produced at a very low per unit price.
"Essentially the design incorporates features of a cape, sleeping bag and life jacket and it all folds in on itself so it can be easily carried or hooked to a belt when not in use.
"I am happy to be included in this exhibition after all the hard work and stress of preparing my major work during my HSC year."
Lucy is continuing her studies in design with a double degree at University of Technology Sydney in Interior and Spatial Design with Creative Intelligence and Innovation.
The talented and thoughtful young designer's CapeBag is currently on display at the Museum of the Riverina's Historic Council Chambers site in Wagga.
Last Thursday Wagga mayor Rod Kendall officially opened the exhibition, which will be on display until Sunday, August 3.