Reflective gear, like you see for running or biking, works remarkably well at night. But the problem is it looks athletic, and short of workouts, does the average person want to wear the stuff on a day-to-day basis?
Seen is a prototype line of clothing, by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Marlies Schets, that mixes the night time visibility of sporty neon reflective gear with the everyday chic we’ve come to expect from more standard textiles like cotton or wool. The Seen line of clothing–comprised of a scarf, backpack, and bike lock–all look fairly normal during the day, but at night, they glow under the luminescence of artificial light.
How is this possible? In the instance of her backpack, she cleverly layers reflective material under traditional material, creating portholes that will only glow when hit by artificial light. But for pieces like her scarf, Schets told Co.Design that she’s actually created a custom woven fabric. Half is a typical thread. And half is a thread she’s spun from reflective material–material that actually contains micro globules of glass to catch beams of light.
Assumably, Seen’s custom-woven textiles will still shimmer a bit at the office, but Schets seems to be designing around such a limitation, creating accessories like scarves rather than core garments saddled with the perfectionist expectations of a suit jacket or pant. Currently, Schets is perfecting her weaves while stress testing the washability and daily wear of her new, glowing fabric. When that stage is complete, she plans to bring the line to market.
“With my product, I’m not saying that the neon jacket isn’t good, and I definitely don’t want to make it disappear,” Schets explains. “But what I’m trying to do is to reduce the gap between wearing nothing and wearing this neon jacket.”