Finding Reflective Tape for Clothing

Published: 31st January 2012
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To protect people in many different types of situations, reflective safety clothing features reflective safety tape. These situations can range from issues in a professional work environment to nighttime jogging and even rescue operations or when out on the open sea. In order to create this clothing, manufacturers have designed retroreflective and fluorescent textiles which use reflective tape for clothing. This reflective tape captures the light and shines it back to the source, which causes the person wearing the tape to become much more visible.

The History of Reflective Tape for Clothing

The earliest high visibility clothing with reflective technology can be traced back to the earlier 20th century, but the clothing was impracticable, uncomfortable and inconvenient. When clothing becomes a problem, professionals won't wear it. In order to improve safety, manufacturers needed a practical design that wouldn't hinder work performance.

It wasn't until 1970 that more comfortable designs were created, starting with belts that featured simple sew on reflective tape. In 1982, research and development into reflective technology led to the creation of reflective safety vests that used various components to improve visibility. The vests included a harness that incorporated battery-powered electrical lights as well as phosphorescent patches. Later, to reduce the bulkiness of the garments, reflective components became mainstream, including white and yellow reflective tape.

Safety clothing that has either sew on reflective tape or some other reflective material is to increase visibility of the wearer. To improve visibility, the design and the classification of the clothing must be chosen. Personal protective equipment, reflective vests and other reflective materials are broken down into three types of classifications. The rating or category will change depending on the amount of reflective material being used and how well the material reflects light.

For those in non-professional settings such as people who go jogging or recreational walking near areas with traffic, several items exist that feature reflective tape to increase visibility. The amounts of reflective material on these pieces of clothing are generally small. Professional workers on the other hand can expect to run into a wide variety of garments that meet different classification levels such as those by the government or other institutions. These items can range from a simple coverage like a vest that's good for parking lots and other low traffic situations or highly reflective full jackets and pants with 360 degrees of visibility with multiple layers and reflective tape that is added to increase visibility from all angles.


Types of Reflective Clothing

The vest is the most common type of high visibility clothing on the market today. This vest is sleeveless, worn over clothing, and has several strips of reflective tape on it. Other types of clothing exist and are used depending on the working conditions, the environment, and the job hazards. Examples of reflective clothing include all-weather wear, high-heat flame retardant protective equipment with fire-resistant reflective tape, boots, gloves, packs, shoes, hats, flags, cold-performance, and bands. Each of these items will have some type of reflective tape to increase visibility and safety. Recreational clothing such as pants, jackets, shirts and shoes also have reflective accessories on them such as logos, zippers and other items.

Manufacturers continue to find ways to maximize visibility and improve on the original concept and design. Improved retroreflection with microprism technology, highly-visible variations in fluorescent backing material, improved comfort (which improves adherence to safety protocols and uniform policy) as well as improved performance for sew on reflective tape to prevent loss of performance through frequent use.


Don't trust your garment line to just anyone. The visibility of professional workers is important, and the quality of your reflective tape for clothing directly affects the safety of the wearer. For maximum visibility in your garment line, trust loxy sew on reflective tape - we keep professionals safe and visible.

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