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Highly-Visible Yellow

Proenza Schouler Hi-Vis Yellow Bag

What does this color remind you of?

We’ve already established that I think fashion might be one of the best barometers of zeitgeist. No one should be surprised when I say I do read fashion magazines, usually with a critical eye toward what designers, stylists, photographers and editors are holding up as the thing supposedly capturing our collective imagination. This spring I noticed a color that caught my attention – not just for it’s brightness, but also because I don’t think neon has been touted as high fashion since the 1980’s.

The bag pictured above is by Proenza Schouler, a two-man design team based out of NYC. Proenza Schouler calls the color “citron,” but hi-vis yellow by any other name is just as visible. The last time I saw this hue, it was on a cycling-specific jacket on some racy Greenway rider. British luxury brand Mulberry did a whole collection for spring 2012 based on bright yellow rain slickers, shoes, and purses. Also, check out the inside of the PS purse. Every cyclist knows that the ideal complement to hi-vis yellow is… black!

This is pretty interesting, and apparently not just to me. Most concepts by big fashion designers remain concepts – selling a few to a few hundred pieces to wealthy sartorialists. When a design is truly wearable and captures attention and imagination, however, it gets imitated on a more populist level. Don’t want to spend $1,200 on a purse? (I wouldn’t. If I had that money I would buy another bike!) Everyone from Steve Madden to Target has a version.

This is not to suggest that every cyclist needs a yellow purse, but if it fits your style, budget, and carrying stuff needs, it’s an interesting concept. I love that the fashion industry has taken a color previously reserved for safety gear and made it into a hip accessory without losing the visibility-increasing functionality. Bright bags are a great way to make yourself more visible on the road! Plus, I suspect that the rise of cycling in places like New York City might have something to do with this latest fashion trend…

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