For decades, miners, road workers, and fire fighters have been wearing 3M reflective tapes and fabrics to help make themselves safer and more visible.
3M’s deep expertise in vision science, microreplication and retroreflection has yielded numerous, multi-varied applications in the safety and protection industry. But we know design thinking, creativity and trend spotting can open opportunities to migrate these applications into new spaces far beyond safety. Now materials once used only in the realm of safety are being embraced and transformed by designers the world over.
Recently, our Design team collaborated to develop concept garments featured at Milan Design Week in Italy and other locations around the world. Leveraging print patterns on textiles with 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material, the “discreet visibility” of integrated design elements lit up with the flash of a camera. No matter what the context – the eye-catching statement of fashionistas or the visible activity of runners in the dark night – the creative community is not only getting inspired, but also “enlightened” by design.
Such materials and technologies at 3M also foster collaborative opportunity with the creative minds in design schools. For example, we worked with a group of students last year from the Fashion School at Politecnico University in Milan. The students took on the task of interpreting our technologies into future outdoor trends. While collaborating, they leveraged design-thinking approaches such as biomimicry and biomapping to imagine new solutions for integrating several 3M materials, including 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation and Scotchlite™ reflective material. This workshop resulted in the creation of a prototype highlighting active integration of style, performance, innovation and design.
Our design team is constantly pushing the envelope to translate, transform and transcend what is into what can be. From roadways to runways, design is illuminating creative possibilities for our Scotchlite™ reflective material, and we still have so much more to explore.