Lights go up on reflective design competition

  • Published Date 31 Mar 2017

As the lights go down on daylight savings, the headlights go up on Project Glow Wear - the reflective design competition all about illuminating people on foot and bike. Back after a glowing inaugural competition in 2016 - the competition challenges designers and creatives to enter every day to avant-garde clothing and accessories - with a twist - all entries must include retro-reflective elements that highlight the wearer as they go about their evening and early morning journeys.

Barbara Donaldson, Greater Wellington Regional Councillor and Chair of the Sustainable Transport Committee says this year's Project Glow Wear promises to once again boldly go where no fashion design competition has gone before by showing that reflective clothing can be high fashion as well as high impact.

A $10,000 prize pool is sure to attract bright sparks and with 13 categories, there are many opportunities to win. Up for grabs are a $500 Levi's voucher, internship at Mandatory Menswear, a Wacom tablet, a Singer sewing machine, shearing scissors, cash prizes and more. The pièce de résistance is the Arrow Award where the winning entry will be manufactured by the winning designer during a two month paid internship.

All New Zealander's over the age of 15 are invited to enter: designers, home sewers, crafters and students. A Young Designer award will attract a healthy contingent of entrants from across the country.

The competition also aims to increase awareness of the effectiveness of reflective elements in clothing and accessories to increasing the visibility of people walking, running or cycling in the hours between dusk and dawn - particularly when placed on moving parts.

And with daylight savings coming to an end - now is the perfect time to think about adding a reflective piece to your wardrobe. Interested shoppers can check out the Project Glow Wear website for a list of retailers offering a wide range of reflective options for any evening-time traveller.

The fashion world is beginning to embrace the possibilities of retro-reflective as an untapped element to incorporate into all types of clothing and accessories. Project Glow Wear's Pinterest page contains a plethora of reflective inspiration on this front.

The transport teams at Greater Wellington Regional Council, Auckland Transport, Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council, Kapiti Coast District Council and Upper Hutt City Council are behind the competition alongside Levi's®, Arrow Uniforms, Lux Light Festival, Singer™, Mandatory Menswear, the Wellington Sewing Centre, Oversew Fashion,  Vespertine NYC and Massey University School of Design.

The project team were blown away by the quality, creativity and wearability of entries received last year. Highlights included a hot pink PVC jacket with reflective frilling and in-built rear-facing lights, trousers with reflective hems & pocket detailing, an elegant soft yellow cape with reflective detailing and a swathe of innovative accessories for all purposes.

"We hope that the calibre of entries will make judging this year's entries just as difficult", says Melanie Thornton, Project Glow Wear organiser and GWRC Manager Sustainable Transport.

Finalists will be shown, and winners announced, at a spectacular Awards Night Runway show in Wellington in August, followed by a repeat of the runway show in Auckland.  

To register see Entrants have the option to receive up to a metre of sew-on or iron-on reflective fabric to get them started on their design. 

For more details contact

Vanessa Rushton 022 643 2890

About the design competition

This is the second annual Project Glow Wear reflective design competition.

The competition is free to enter.

See photos of 2016 finalists at the runway show: and

Project Glow Wear 2017 awards are for garments and accessories in the following categories: Luminance, Streetwear, Menswear, Best Upcycled, Fabric Innovation, Young Designer (15 to 18 years). People’s Choice and Commercial Viability.

Each entry will be judged according to specific criteria for each award alongside the following general criteria:

?     Reflectivity: Effective use of reflective materials

?     Creativity: Innovative and original design

?     Quality: Cut and finish, quality of sewing

?     Wearability: Ease & simplicity of wear and movement

Updated April 28, 2022 at 3:12 PM

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