Curious about fashion and design inspiration? Do you want your creations to stand out? Be seen? Be original? Designers are finding creative uses for retroreflective materials, not just in practical safety gear, but as an original design element of artistic expression in sports, accessories, jewelry and urban wear.
Because these materials reflect light directly back to the source, they help us stay visible in low light conditions. They're why traffic signs and roadway markings stand out so brightly at night. And why workwear that has Scotchlite™ Reflective Material from 3M designed into it helps keep road construction crews, firemen and miners visible. They're brighter because of the science and technology used to create them.
But not all of us need to stand out with function. We want to increase our visibility and stand out discreetly. After seeing the difference this material could make in workplace safety gear, it inspired designers of athletic wear to explore the use of reflective material in their designs. Athletic manufacturers began designing it into sporting apparel and athletic shoes to help keep early-morning and nighttime runners, walkers and bikers visible – while still looking cool.
What does the future hold? How about creatively integrating reflective material into high end designs? British clothing maker Dashing Tweeds combined reflective threads, with classic British tailoring styles, creating tweed textiles with reflective thread woven right into the fabric. It creates a shimmering look with the subtle bonus of added visibility. And in our own design lab, we're working with fashion designers from around the world to use our reflective materials to move fashion forward.
New applications and innovative designs are pushing the apparel boundaries. So next time you are out and about at twilight – see if you catch a glimpse of the unusual and unexpected in the apparel of those around you.