Creating the UK’s largest and most innovative women’s high visibility range hasn’t been easy. Here we reflect on the journey so far, and what lies ahead.
Our Managing Director, Peter Turner, remembers what first prompted us to create our Women’s range, “We recognized that many women working in industry were simply issued with men’s garments. These were often ill-fitting and unnecessarily long – longer than was safe or practical.”
Though the number of women working in industry has risen steadily over the past couple decades, they were often underserved by the PPE market. This inspired Leo Workwear to use our design experience to create a range of women’s high visibility clothing that would set the standard for comfortable, durable, women’s workwear.
One difficulty we encountered when first designing women’s garments was ensuring they complied with the international standard on high visibility clothing, ISO 20471. The requirements of the standard didn’t encourage innovation in womenswear since they are based on minimum area requirements of fluorescent material and reflective tape. These specifications don’t take into account the size of the wearer, meaning many of our smaller sizes were a class below our larger ones.
Despite these limitations, we set about designing garments which would cater more effectively for the female workforce, and in 2014 we unveiled the Rosemoor Women's Breathable Jacket, our first product tailored specifically for women. This waterproof jacket is a well-ventilated, comfortable coat meeting the Class 3 requirements from size XS upwards.
“The initial reaction to the Rosemoor was incredibly positive. Our customers told us it fit well and were pleased that we offered a range of different sizes all the way up to a 24.” – Peter Turner
The success of Rosemoor lies in large part to the extensive wearer trials and fitting reviews which shaped the development of the garment. By investing time and energy in thorough research we were able to create a practical, stylish jacket perfect for the modern female workforce.
Inspired by the success of the Rosemoor we pushed on with women’s trousers (CL01) which were soon followed by women’s waistcoat options.
“When we launched the Rosemoor we were confident in the product and appreciative of the warm reception the garment received. But we knew we mustn’t rest on our laurels and had to continue innovating.” – Peter Turner
The desire to keep improving has motivated the company to expand our women’s range to include polos, sweatshirts, and bodywarmers. The most eye-catching of our new products though, is our pioneering maternity range.
Whilst working on some of the largest infrastructure projects in the UK, we saw that some pregnant staff were unable to work safely due to the limitations of their PPE. To combat this, we introduced the first high visibility maternity garments to the UK market.
At the same time, we released our high visibility Modesty Tunic which allows women to adhere to their religious beliefs without compromising their safety. Though we’re never going to sell massive quantities of these garments, we believe everyone has the right to be safe at work and are glad to play our part in making industry more inclusive.
Having tackled the first hurdle of getting used to women’s sizing, expanded our range, and now innovated with our maternity and modesty wear, we’re excited for what the next few years will bring in women’s hi vis.
Moving forward, Leo Workwear have set two targets regarding womenswear:
To further expand our range and remain the UK’s number one women’s high visibility designer.
To convert more of our women’s garments to environmentally sustainable materials such as recycled polyester.
We thank all of our customers and partners who’ve joined us on our drive to spearhead women’s workwear.
We’ve enjoyed the journey so far, and we’re just getting started!