SEEN reflective textiles at Dutch Design Week 2014

Dutch Design Week 2014: retro-reflective thread is woven into a range of fabrics by Marlies Schets to create a line of accessories that reflect light at night, turning them into cycling safety garments.

Marlies Schets created the reflective material for a line of accessories called Seen as part of her graduation project for Design Academy Eindhoven.


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The collection, which includes a scarf and backpack, has been designed to have the same light-reflective properties as typical high-visibility clothing by night, but appear relatively inconspicuous during the day.

SEEN reflective textiles at Dutch Design Week 2014

Schets wanted to create a range of attractive items to try and overcome the reluctance of night-time cyclists and pedestrians to wear the standard “shapeless” neon vest with reflective strips that is widely available as a safety garment.

“I noticed that not many people like to wear the neon jacket during their casual ride or walk with the dog because the jacket is shapeless and way too obvious, which is not always necessary during daytime,” Schets told Dezeen.

SEEN reflective textiles at Dutch Design Week 2014

The fabric is woven from two colours of cotton yarn and a synthetic yarn that can only be detected when it is illuminated by passing light sources at night.

SEEN reflective textiles at Dutch Design Week 2014

This thread is described as retro-reflective as it reflects light back towards its source when it hits the surface of the fabric, rather than in all directions.

SEEN reflective textiles at Dutch Design Week 2014

“[The items] all look fairly normal during the day, but at night they glow under the luminescence of artificial light,” said Schets. “The impact on the wearer is that he or she will be safer, without wearing something they might not like.”

SEEN reflective textiles at Dutch Design Week 2014

A scarf made from a length of the woven fabric comes in a range of pastel hues, while a black backpack has luminous straps and a series of small ellipses in an outer layer that reveals patches of fabric that light up in the dark.

SEEN reflective textiles at Dutch Design Week 2014

“What I’m trying to do is reduce the gap between wearing nothing and wearing a neon jacket by integrating reflective materials into daily used products,” Schets said.

SEEN reflective textiles at Dutch Design Week 2014

The products were exhibited at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show during Dutch Design Week earlier this month. The designer is also in the process of developing a water-resistant bike lock that will be made completely from synthetic yarns.

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