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The Coolture Story

The Coolture Story

The True and Remarkable Story of Van DiBernardo

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With a permanent residence was in Manhattan, Van worked in Miami, Spain, and Brazil when designing shoes for Unisa. Later, when designing for DKNY, Van worked in Italy, France, Spain, and Brazil. His idea of winding down was exploring dance clubs, flea markets, museums -- any opportunity to meet new people, which was constant. Van was an enthusiast and entertaining participant in “the city that never sleeps”; he was a magnet of creativity, humor, and human connection.   

Double-vision was the first change in Van. Soon after, nausea kicked in, eliminating his ability to work overseas. He grew less confident, unable to walk without staggering. False diagnoses led to more and more testing while his symptoms continued to multiply. Tremors crept into his hands, eventually commanding his limbs and head. He wrapped his arms and neck with weighted straps to help minimize the tremors enough to feed himself; and when his bladder became paralyzed, he fought the tremors to catheterize himself. With the dots all connected, Van started steroid treatments for Multiple Sclerosis.

It was after his second two-month hospitalization that Van returned to Buffalo, New York, where his parents nursed him through many years and many doctors. It was eight years before he could live on his own again. When that day came, first on his list was to improve the design and function of the cumbersome, unattractive cooling vest he wore to battle heat intolerance. Van already knew that heat worsened the side effects of chronic conditions, but he had only just learned that heat can compromise even the healthiest of humans: elite athletes.

Van started sketching his improved cooling vest design in 2008. It was prototyped in 2009. Athletic fabrics, NASA-approved technology, 3M Thinsulate, a “weightless belt” feature, and yet according to Van something was missing:  “Why should I be the only one able to wear something better than what’s out there?”

Coolture was born in 2010. Today, Coolture has a growing catalogue of superior cooling solutions, along with a catalogue of customers with stories of their own. 

 

 

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