Good Content from: Sarah Clark, Senior Merchandising Manager
Enjoy a Q&A from our head of apparel.
How has the reflectivity/safety category evolved over time? How about for your brand specifically?
Overt reflectivity – giant bars of wide reflective tape, large scale reflective prints, and viz colors used to be the only way to do reflectivity. I think, though, things have changed. Reflectivity is still here and still valid but brands are finding subtler, more sophisticated ways to keep runners safe. Clear prints that look shiny during the day but are reflective at night; reflective hits that are revealed by unzipping or folding down a flap; colored reflective trims rather than plain silver. There is definitely more creativity in the space now. I also think that runners don’t segment their closets or drawers anymore either. If they have a great jacket that performs well and looks awesome during more than just their run, they’re going to want to wear it all the time. That’s harder to pull off with large swaths of reflective. Finally, I think that technology like washable lights that can be incorporated into the garment is an interesting concept though it hasn’t been commercialized in a really compelling way yet. Bulky batteries and limited laundering have hampered efforts to adopt.
What do you have to offer in this category and what’s new for the season (in apparel, footwear and/or accessories)?
For FA19, we have a great collection called Reversi-Run including a Jacket and Vest as well as Tights for both men and women. The idea is that you can choose to be stealth or stand out. Each item can be worn as solid black or reversed to a high viz color. It’s a really good example of a jacket that works both on the run to help you be seen but also looks great before or after.
What types of technologies are included in these offerings?
The Jacket and Vest feature a wind and water resistant polyester main body fabric with DWR (Durable Water Repellent). Additionally, they are both insulated with 100gm Primaloft Eco Black insulation (60gm in the jacket sleeves). Additionally, both sides of each item have reflective logos and trims rated at 300 candlepower
What do you keep in mind when designing for the safety of the runner? Anything specific in terms of style, color, features, etc.?
Reflectivity is most noticeable when it’s applied to a part of the body that is moving the most. I challenge my designer to find ways to incorporate reflectivity in interesting ways and in places on the garment that move – i.e. the lower leg or the cuff. Thankfully, viz colors have become almost a neutral for the running category, so they’re often part of our color palette without needing to be built out as their own collection.
Do you do any specific testing in terms of safety/reflectivity?
We require 300 candlepower for anything we’re going to call out as reflective. All trims are required to pass third party testing for reflectivity.
What do consumers seek in this type of product – what are their requests in terms of features, product offerings, etc.?
Special collections for reflective and viz products usually fall into the fall/winter product seasons. The days are shorter and runners often find themselves beginning, ending, or spending their whole run in dusk or dark conditions. Some runners want to be seen no matter what, and they’ll choose the brightest of the bright with the most overt reflectivity available. Others want a more stealth look and rely solely on well placed reflective to do the job. Often, it’s easiest to incorporate interesting reflective design solutions into outerwear as there’s a little more money to play with for trim costs.