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Rise of Hi-Vis Counterfeit Garments: Using Standards as a Solution

The battle against counterfeit goods is well known in the luxury industry. As production shifts overseas, companies have less control over their supply chains, leading to the rise of fakes. With the total global trade of counterfeit goods reaching nearly half a trillion dollars a year, no industry is immune to counterfeiting and IP infringement.

However, in the personal protective equipment (PPE) arena, counterfeiting poses more than just a branding and business challenge. It represents a human life safety concern. For example, high-visibility safety apparel (HVSA) is critical to workers in highway, roadway, and traffic zones. In such cases, HVSA helps alert vehicle drivers of workers in low-light, low visibility environments. Given the hazards of working in high-traffic areas, there is a huge safety risk for workers who wear HVSA garments that are non-compliant, and fake.

ANSI/ISEA 107: Using Standards to Fight Counterfeits & Non-Compliance

One keystone document used to assess the integrity of HVSA garments is ANSI/ISEA 107: The American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories. This standard provides the minimum performance requirements for high-visibility garments, as well as performance class guidelines for HVSA garments worn in different work zones.

Following and understanding these guidelines will be the first step to combating counterfeit, and non-compliant HVSA garments. Many items in the market fail performance requirements. Yet, they are still sold and improperly marketed since qualities such as retroreflectivity are difficult to examine visually. The following summary will aid your understanding of the performance standard.

3 Components to Evaluate Compliance of Hi-Vis Garments According to ANSI/ISEA 107

Fluorescent Background Material: Under normal daylight, the fluorescent background—for example, fluorescent yellow—provides adequate contrast against a background to improve visibility.

Retroreflective Tape: This component plays a huge role in nighttime visibility. As its name suggests, retroreflective materials can bounce light back to its source. This quality ensures that the wearer is noticeable in all postures and orientations.

Design: Different garment types must contain a “minimum area of visible materials.” For example, an HVSA garment used for off-road zones constitutes a Class 1 garment. This classification requires a minimum area of 0.14 sq. m fluorescent background material and 0.10 sq. m retroreflective tape. Design features such as pocketing and logos affect the proportion of visible tape and background material. Thus, one must consider style variations when evaluating HVSA compliance.

Performance Class 2 Vests in Two Different Styles with Labels; Protecting against counterfeit

Pictogram of Performance Class 2 Vest in Two Different Styles

Vartest Laboratories keeps counterfeit HVSA Garments off the market

We leverage our comprehensive expertise in HVSA garment evaluation to keep fake products off the market, ensure worker safety, and educate consumers. In May, Vartest CEO Adam Varley presented on counterfeit textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s “Forum on Sustainable Labor Practices” AATCC Student Chapter event. A summary of his talk is featured in Applied DNA Science’s June newsletter.

For more information on our technical services for safety apparel, please visit our HVSA website. A summary of our PPE and HVSA capabilities, and third-party certification programs can also be accessed here.

Vartest CEO Receives Alumni of the Year Award at FIT!

We are proud to announce that Vartest President & CEO, Adam Varley, has been awarded the Alumni of the Year Award at the FIT TDM 2019 Dinner. The annual event is hosted through the Textile Marketing and Development Department, celebrating accomplishments of both alumni and seniors in the program. This award acknowledges Adam’s distinctive contributions toward the fashion and apparel industry through his achievements in textile testing.

DR. PREETI ARYA AND HER FIT CLASS VISIT VARTEST

Vartest hosted Dr. Preeti Arya and her Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Textile Development and Marketing class.  Students watched a PowerPoint focusing on the difference between Product Performance Specifications and Test Methods.

The students toured the lab seeing ASTM, AATCC, ISO, GB, ACT, BIFMA and Federal Standard 191 test methods for testing fiber, yarn, fabric (both coated and uncoated), used in apparel, aerospace, medical, military, couture, upholstery and active sportswear end uses.  Specialty testing markets like HVSA (High Visibility Safety Apparel) were reviewed in detail.

Vartest is glad to have built a relationship with the textile and apparel quality assurance and compliance executives of the future and continues to work with both FIT and its students.

Vartest Laboratories supported the Drexel effort to bring the National Network for Advanced Functional Fabrics Manufacturing to Philadelphia

“The U.S. Department of Defense has tapped Drexel University as a key leader in the creation of a $75 million national research institute that will support American textile manufacturers in bringing sophisticated new materials and textiles to the marketplace. [1]”

Vartest looks forward to being a technical resource for AFFOA projects, as part of the Fabric Innovation Initiative (FIN). This resurgence of cutting-edge textile technology in the North East harkens back to the birth of the US textile industry in the North East and the development of a significant textile technology department at MIT, but with a pleasant and welcome, modern high-tech twist.

[1] http://www.rle.mit.edu/fabric/

AFFOA

Vartest’s Outstanding Achievements and Service Recognized by AATCC

Adam Varley, Vartest’s Technical Director & COO was honored to be the recipient of the TCR Service Reward “In Recognition for His Service to AATCC Research Committees”. On Thursday, April 3rd 2014, Adam attended a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville, North Carolina, and was presented with this award for “his contribution toward the development of the AATCC Fiber ID Technical Supplement and the continuous updating of AATCC Test Methods 20 and 20A.”

AdamsAward

Vartest In The News

Vartest Laboratories, Inc. recently appeared on ABC’s 20/20 in a special titled “20/20 True Confessions: Dirty Little Secrets from the Dry Cleaners”. In the segment, 20/20 sampled 10 drycleaners in Manhattan with identical garments containing mustard, wine, and nail polish stains. Vartest Laboratories was chosen to perform a Spectrophotometric Analysis of the stains on the returned garments to discover just how many of the selected drycleaners were able to remove the stains the best.

The ABC special as well as the results of the investigation can be found here: 20/20 True Confessions

Learn more about Spectrophotometric Analysis
, AATCC 130, AATCC 135, AATCC 158, and many of the other tests offered by Vartest on the Vartest Laboratory website here: www.vartest.com

Vartest Offers Same Day Testing!

Vartest Laboratories now offers Same Day Service for select testing where it is feasible to do so. Such testing is subject to a 100% Premium Charge.

Check out the rest of the conditions as well as the tests we offer for Same Day Service on our Feasibility List.

Vartest Receives a Visit From FIT

Vartest Laboratories was pleased to welcome students from the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology on May 2nd, 2013. The students are members of FIT’s AATCC Club, and are currently involved in programs such as Quality Assurance, Textile Development, and Marketing. Adam Varley started their tour off with a Powerpoint Presentation on high visibility safety apparel testing and explained to the students how such tests help to evaluate the quality of the products that find their way into our laboratory. The students and their Vice President, Duygu Dizerkonca, then accompanied Stacy Sadowy, Vartest’s Head of Quality Control on a guided tour of all of the departments within the lab, showing them testing and testing equipment and introducing them to department heads and laboratory technicians along the way. A great time was had by all and Vartest looks forward to another visit soon.