“Your first impression is your last impression,” so goes the saying. And in our image-conscious world, it can determine whether sink or swim. So how do we get people to put safety above all else? With a bit of style and a potent message, that’s how.
When it comes lifejackets, design isn’t front of mind, so they’re as far removed from stylish as you can get. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was recently faced with a challenge: ensuring that fashionistas put safety first and donned the flotation devices, while lounging about languidly on the open sea. An unenviable task! After all, who wants to ruin a carefully considered nautical look (classic with a touch of sass)?
Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town, the NSRI’s pro-bono agency, answered the call for help. It joined forces with some of South Africa’s most talented fashion designers and set itself the challenge of designing a fashion-first couture lifejacket. The unique collection was unveiled at SAMW 2015 (South African Menswear Week), which showcased the designs of Lara Klawikowski, Hendrik Vermeulen Couture, Leigh Schubert, Kim Gush, Jenevieve Lyons, Blanc, Habits and Csquared, among others.
This courageous and powerful anti-fashion statement was delivered in style as local celebrities like Bailey Schneider, Danny Acquisto and Carl Wastie took to the stage to present the designs. Then the NSRI volunteers walked the runway – a first! As they held up a banner, which read: “Does a lifejacket have to be fashionable to save your life?”, the audience gave them a standing ovation.
A brave message indeed: safety first – always.