In 2011, I began my career as a junior engineer in the thriving BC environmental consulting industry. But I quickly realized that finding overalls and coveralls that fit my body correctly was practically a second job. The unisex option never fit me properly, and hung loose in all the wrong places.
Trying to answer the call of nature while in nature was a task unto itself. To do this, I had to remove my tool belt, high-vis vest, and jacket. Then, I had to peel off the lower half of my overalls, exposing half of my body to the elements or the accidental glances of nearby coworkers.
My other option involved getting a ride to the facilities on these often remote worksites, adding up to lost hours of productive time. So I faced an impossible choice. Risk exposing myself to coworkers, or risk losing my job. I felt unsafe, I was using unhealthy coping strategies, and I was at a clear disadvantage in the field.
Then one day, I decided enough is enough. This is a problem faced by women on worksites across the country, and I knew there had to be a solution.
In 2014, Helga Wear was born of necessity in my living room in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver BC. Our goal is to raise awareness about unsafe hydration and and toileting behaviours typical to women working in active outdoor industries, and to offer clothing options designed for women to encourage dignified, healthy practises and overall wellness.
Stay Safe, Warm and Dry My Friends!
Jodi Huettner on CBC's the Stats of Life