Types of Reflective Tape for Clothing

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Published: 30th July 2012
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Whether a person is in a professional work environment, is out jogging at night, performing a rescue in a dangerous area, working out on the open water or is in any other situation where visibility is crucial, reflective safety clothing has been designed to protect them. In order to protect people in these situations, manufacturers around the globe have created retroreflective and fluorescent textiles which use reflective tape for clothing. This tape captures light and shines it back to the source, making the person wearing the clothing exponentially easier to see.

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.

The most important goal of safety clothing with sewed on reflective tape and other reflective additions is to increase and improve visibility. How these additions improve the visibility of the clothing item is determined by both the design and the classification of the clothing. Three different classifications are used to break down reflective equipment like vests and personal protective equipment. The classification varies on both the visibility of the item as well as how much reflective gear was used in creating the item.

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 most common type of high visibility clothing is the vest. It's a sleeveless vest worn over clothing with a number of strips of reflective tape. There are a number of other types depending on working conditions, environment and job duties (or hazards). This can include all-weather wear, cold-performance, high-heat flame retardant protective equipment with fire-resistant reflective tape, gloves, boots, shoes, hats, packs, bands and flags - all of which feature some form of reflective tape for improved visibility. Recreational clothing, or personal clothing, is also available with similar reflective material in the form of pants, shirts, jackets and even reflective accessories (logos, zippers, etc.)

The progress for increased visibility and design improvements for reflective clothing is never ending for the manufacturers. By striving to create improved retroreflection with microprism technology, improved comfort, better performance for sewed on reflective tape, and highly-visible variations in the fluorescent backing material, manufacturers continue to make both professionals and civilians safe whenever they wear reflective gear.


When you need to achieve maximum visibility and performance without sacrificing quality of your garment line, you need to choose loxy reflective tape for clothing. Our products ensure you meet regulatory standards while producing long lasting, quality reflective clothing using sew on reflective tape that outperforms others in the industry.

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