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The latest ‘must-see’ fashion accessory – the hi-vis vest

The latest ‘must-see’ fashion accessory – the hi-vis vest  
Filed under:
Design
on 12/14/2009



A class of design students have gone some way to proving that a high-visibility vest doesn’t have to be a fashion faux pas in an effort to raise awareness of roadside safety among young motorists.


Car care company, Comma, has been urging motorists to carry a hi-vis vest in their cars, as more than 180 people are killed or seriously injured each year by the side of the road.*

Research has shown that young people are among those most at risk of an accident by the side of the road, with people under 25 accounting for more than 40 percent of the fatalities and injuries in the last 12 months**.

Comma commissioned the 18 students at Oaklands College in St Albans to design hi-vis vests that are cut with a little more panache than the typical roadworker’s uniform.



Sporting chic buttons, collars and even frills, the Oaklands students’ designs might not meet the British regulatory standards for safety garments but they are, at least, a range of hi-vis vests that don’t sacrifice style.

With accidents at night twice as likely to lead to a fatality***, research has shown that wearing a hi-vis vest increases the distance at which drivers can spot a pedestrian by up to 400 percent****.

Comma’s Mike Bewsey said, “If you break down at night and get out of your car, without hi-vis clothing, you’re effectively invisible. The traditional hi-vis vest whilst functional, has been accused of being rather ‘unflattering’, which got us thinking about how it would look if there was a hi-vis vest that you weren’t ashamed to wear.”

Sarah Easterby, Fashion Lecturer at Oaklands College, said, “It is a fantastic opportunity to work with Comma on this safety campaign and for Oaklands fashion students to take part in a live project and gain hands-on experience.

“This brief pushes the boundaries slightly but, I hope it reinforces the message that, however it looks, you should wear a high-vis vest if you have to get out of your car at the side of the road. This project channels the students’ creative energy through a different avenue and will hopefully help to prepare them for the fashion industry.”

Comma’s advice for any motorist who has the misfortune of breaking down at the side of the road is to put the visi vest on, vacate the car and move to a safe distance before calling and waiting for assistance. Bewsey adds: “Our message about being safe and seen in the event of accident or break down is a serious one but we hope this rather more light-hearted approach will help raise awareness.”

*-Department for Transport, 2009-UK Roads
**- Department for Transport statistics 2008
*** - Department for Transport statistics 2008
**** - Auto Express, October 2007



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