For a grad-school project at NYU, Alex Vessels and Mindy Tchieu thought up ways to make cyclists visible to cars. Their first idea: a large, inflatable version of a brain that would fit over a bicycle helmet. “The idea behind that was that it would be very visible, illuminated at night, and rendered in such a way that would convey the delicateness of cyclists body to motorists,” Vessels writes on his website. Kinda brilliant, but something you’d more likely see in a MoMA exhibition than in a fashionista’s wardrobe. “We soon realized that people, especially New Yorkers, were not willing to sacrifice style for safety.” So the duo decided to turn ordinary T-shirts and sweatshirts into biking gear, embellishing them with retroreflective material cut into stylish, modern patterns.
While still students, Vessels and Tchieu launched their We-Flashy designs on Kickstarter to an enthusiastic audience. Now, riding their initial success, they’ve opened an online shop just in time for holiday orders. Our favorite is the relatively subdued houndstooth, but the less tame can pull off the dizzying cubic design or unicorn montage. The designs are applied by hand to American Apparel Ts ($55) and sweatshirts ($85-$150).
Sound spendy? We-Flashy explains: “Most apparel companies using retroreflective elements only use it for small logos or trim. We-Flashy uses a generous amount of ANSI-rated retroreflective material to create entire patterns on our garments.” In the end, it’s a small price to pay for fashion, not to mention your life.
Click here to visit We-Flashy’s online store.