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Keltic Clothing Blog
Author Archives: David Barry
Here at Keltic, we’ve just launched our new paramedic uniform range on our website. We may have a few glasses of wine to celebrate, but we’ll be sure not to be wearing one of our uniforms when we buy it!
A leading supermarket recently refused to serve a paramedic who attempted to buy wine in his uniform, stating that it was company policy. What happened next was quite unexpected – he took off his ambulance uniform and stripped down to his underwear and asked “now will you serve me?”!
This isn’t the first time that paramedic uniforms have hit the news. There have been regular calls by ambulance unions to provide their members with paramedic stab vests – citing the shocking and increasing number of assaults on their staff.
In other paramedic uniform-related news, we were sad to hear that Random Acts of Reality, a Blog based in London, England, written by an E.M.T working for the London Ambulance Service is no more, with the blogger moving on to pastures outside the ambulance sector – best of luck from all at Keltic!
The world of security clothing may be a million miles from the catwalk, but like every type of work wear it has changed and developed over the years, influenced by a number of factors. This blog post takes a look at what those factors are, where we are now, and what we can expect in the future.
Whereas high street fashion takes its cue from celebrity culture and the catwalks of Paris and Milan, security clothes have previously taken their cue from closer to home – the good old English bobby on the beat. In the hit ITV show Heartbeat, actor Nick Berry modelled the archetypal ’60s police uniform, complete with tunic and traditional helmet.
Uniforms vary from force to force, but generally in the late ’70s and ’80s there was a move away from tunics and helmets towards nato jumpers and uniform caps – and again with the security industry followed suit (pardon the pun!).
During the nineties and noughties there has been a move towards fleeces with epaulettes and radio loops. Interestingly, however, security clothing is only just picking up on this development, and the majority of security guards are still wearing jumpers – or suits.
And that’s the other trend – with the retail world developing so much since the days of Heartbeat, the role of security guards and police has diverged further, and now a security guard in a security suit is common in retail, company offices and government buildings.
However, the more casual police-type look of fleece/jumper with police style polywool trousers, smart trousers with combat pockets to store notebooks and similar equipment still prevails as the most popular security clothing. And the tried and trusted security shirt has remained pretty much unchanged over all this time!
Today, the key point of differentiation for the security guard from the police and other personnel is the outer jacket – in the British weather, for security guards that work outside, or do a mix of inside and outside work, this is the face of their company to the public. There is a trend away from the bog-standard yellow hi vis jackets toward different colours of jackets such as blues, maroons, blacks, many of which fit better with company or client colours, and provide differentiation in a crowded marketplace.
Finally, having gone from head to toe, you have the good old police boots. For many years Magnum boots has been the favoured brand. This is still the case, but the trusty Magnum Classic and Magnum Patrol are making way for new alternatives such as the Magnum stealth and Magnum Strider.
We’ll be regularly blogging about the changing face of security clothing so check back for more updates, or sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date with new developments.
Cardiff City Council have taken over parking enforcement from South Wales Police, and kitted out their team in a striking new look. The civil enforcement officer uniform (CEOs) will now be easy to spot in the Cardiff corporate colour. Sweaters, ties and hatbands are now all in vivid red providing a memorable image.
We designed and supplied the eye-catching new parking uniform for Cardiff. They decided to go for a bright uniform, making CEOs very approachable. They saw this as a fresh, inclusive, proactive and progressive uniform choice.
The traditional colours of black and navy will always have connotations of authoritarianism. The old-fashioned police look is slowly going from parking unforms the parking industry. To help this along, our designs have modern cuts and up-to-the minute fabrics.
Seven CEOs were involved in selecting the uniform, trying it for size, look and comfort, and offering their feedback. The main thing the CEOs focused on was comfort, they tried our garments on, walked around in them, and didn’t pull any punches! They liked the attention to detail in our clothing, the extra pockets and radio loops.
We design and develop all of our products with input from people who actually use the garments every day. The initial idea often comes about through feedback we receive – for example, we created our summer Patrol Mac after feedback that staff were getting wet in the summer, but that their winter coats were too heavy. The challenge we have successfully met is to design very high quality technical garments at a price that the whole parking uniform market can afford.
We believe that CEOs feel more confident about performing their job if they are wearing the right uniform for the circumstances and weather conditions. A smart uniform demonstrates to staff that their employer values them and the role they perform. Each time we have implemented a new uniform, there’s been a big boost in morale, with CEOs pleased to finally be issued with a uniform that is functional and keeps them warm, dry and comfortable.
Cardiff offered staff a choice of either long or short versions of Keltic’s Patrol Jacket which comes with zip-out fleeces for warmth and comfort. Trousers also come in different designs including cargo styles. We also have new non-slip super-comfortable CEO footwear, styled more like a trainer/walking shoe for both comfort and longevity – this is our new Magnum Strider shoe.
For the coming spring and summer Cardiff’s CEOs have been issued with Keltic’s Summer Patrol Vest to help them cope with warm summer conditions. The garment is made from a lightweight micromesh fabric like airtex, which allows the skin to breathe more effectively.
Our contract with Cardiff placed 60% weighting on pricing and 40% on quality and delivery times. We believe we have the most competitive prices, and add value by offering the best quality products and a very fast delivery. We offer local authorities a choice of more than 30 colours for their parking uniforms, so they can select colours that harmonise with their corporate image and differentiate them from the police and other on-street agencies.
We don’t want to add to landfill unnecessarily so we make sure our customers benefit from having High Visibility clothing that lasts many times the life of cheaper products. Here are some things to look for when choosing your Hi Viz clothing:
- Yellow hi vis clothing should meet EN471 Class 2. We recommend you check each supplier has not only the EN471 certificate but full certification for both the fabric and reflective tape used – there are many cases where the fabric and tape only pass the requirements very marginally – a marginal pass this week could be a marginal fail next week!
- Beware hi visibility clothing that is too short – it’s generally not possible for them to meet EN471 Class 2 unless they are at least 60cm long
- Reflective tape used on hi vis clothing will generally always be Class 2 glass bead tape (Reflexite tape takes hi viz clothing out of most clients price range)
- Fluorescent yellow is very bright, and needs to stay bright to be reflective, does the hi vis clothing you are about to buy have Teflon coating to repel dirt?
- Think about style –check the arm holes are large enough to comfortably get in and out of it– to use less tape and cut costs some suppliers make the shoulder bands shorter by making the arm holes shorter, making the garment harder to get on
Hi vis clothing is worn by all and sundry these days – the high street is awash with hi vis… We offer very high quality standard hi vis clothing, but we also offer something different, so you can spot your staff amongst all the other companies and government employees out and about in hi viz yellow clothing. We offer over 30 different colours from stock – something to suit all corporate images, and many of our garments incorporate Reflexite hi vis tape, the most reflective tape on the market, enabling your staff to be seen from up to 7 times further away. More about Reflexite hi vis tape in a later blog!
For most of us, the peaked cap is forever associated with the uniform clothing market. Despite uniform clothes being modernised significantly, the peaked cap hasn’t changed in 50 years. We know the peaked cap is here to stay for a while longer, so decided to see if we could design something a bit more comfortable and up-to-date.
After spending some time chatting with purchasing managers and groups of wearers, we discovered that existing caps are fairly universally disliked – no real surprise there then! Wearers tend to find them uncomfortable, old-fashioned, heavy and sweaty – and they dislike the black shiny peak and strap. Baseball caps aren’t the answer because they’re too casual looking. One of our large customers have just moved away from baseball caps and back to peaked caps for their uniform wear.
Current caps soak up the rain – if you are lucky you might get a waterproof cover that looks like a shower cap – but that can make you more uncomfortable because it’s not breathable. Fabric technology has moved on dramatically in 50 years, so we decided to see how we could use this to make a more wearable and comfortable Cap.
The result is our new unisex Patrol Cap, made from highly breathable, waterproof, quick-drying fabric. It’s much lighter in weight and more flexible, and therefore much more comfortable. The style has been modernised too, with a more sophisticated, slimmer profile and a slightly smaller non-shiny fabric peak. The style has been described as evolution rather than revolution. This is one example of where we like to give our customers choice, and we constantly striving to innovate with the best fabrics and designs.
The Patrol Cap innovation comes hot on the heels of Keltic’s exclusive Magnum Strider shoe, the UK’s first shoe designed for civil enforcement officers. The Strider incorporates ion-mask hydrophobic technology which actually repels water. Our plan has been to change the parking uniform wear market from head to toe, and with the Patrol Cap, our new ranges of clothing and the Magnum Strider, I reckon we’ve done it!
Choosing the right body armour can be nerve-wracking because it is so important to get it right. You can find plenty of advice on our website about your Health and Safety responsibilities when buying bodyarmour in the UK. However we have been able to boil down the decision making process to three simple questions:
- Which threats do you think your staff will come across in the course of their work? The first thing to do is to carry out a risk assessment taking into account the risks your staff may face. This means thinking about the threats that are found in your local area (don’t forget to consult with your local police if possible) as well as the threats that are specific to their day to day work. Here is your starter for ten:
- Are your staff at risk from knives and spikes?
- Is there also a risk from guns?
- Also think about any additional threats of blunt trauma and syringes.
- Which Home Office protection level is required? You can check out the details of the level of stab, spike and ballistic protection recommended by the Home Office for the various jobs your staff perform by looking at our individual stab vests and ballistic vests pages.
- Which style is best for your staff? If you choose a style your staff like, they are more likely to wear their body armour protection whenever they are exposed to risk. Questions 1 and 2 are redundant if they don’t want to their vest because it’s not appropriate for their work or because they don’t like the way it looks. You can counter this by buying from a supplier who has a range of styles to suit every need.
See our stab vest and ballistic vest pages to see our seven styles of protective body armour – the largest choice of stock-backed styles in the UK.
Don’t forget, we’re offering free delivery and collection of samples throughout March.
At Keltic we’re all very excited because tomorrow marks the launch of our new website, which is the culmination of over six months work. We feel that our website is the perfect representation of where we are at the moment as a company. We’re made up of six specialist departments, and we thought we’d give a brief rundown of what each of the three main departments do, and how they tie in together.
The largest department, which is how we started back in 2001, is our Uniform Wear Department, which supplies uniform clothing for security, parking, wardens and other enforcement roles. Our USP has always been manufacturing – the business started out making custom jackets for parking and security staff. This developed into supplying the full kit head-to-toe and we’re now the UK’s largest enforcement uniform provider, with 5 large warehouses full of unique and exclusive garments.
Security and enforcement supervisors needed suits and shirts/blouses, events staff needed poloshirts or corporate jackets, and hey presto the Corporate Wear department was formed. From these humble roots we recruited staff with a passion for fashion, and we’re now one of the UK’s largest suppliers of corporatewear, supplying many of the country’s most prestigious hotels and landmarks, as well as hundreds of doctor’s surgeries, local authorities, colleges and universities and blue chip companies.
With the alarming increase in violence against staff, and the worrying prevalence of weapons in society, we were increasingly being asked to supply body armour. Our Body Armour Department spent two years researching the market and developing the best range of body armour in the UK. We now have 7 different styles available from stock at every Home Office protection level, and a unique system that allows you to interchange styles. This is widely recognised as a huge development for the industry – until recently the only question was “do you want a white or a black stab vest?”
The Department Heads will be blogging about each Department in the coming weeks, but we hope this post has given an insight as to how each department is related. To mark the coming of Spring, and the launch of our new website, we’re offering free delivery and collection of samples for the whole of March.
2011 isn’t a leap year, but for Keltic, one of the UK’s largest staff uniform suppliers, 2011 marks a giant leap forward.
When we first started ten years ago, we were one of the first few companies in our industry to promote our business with a website. Many of our competitors didn’t have websites or email addresses – doesn’t that sound strange now!
I spent a long time with a university friend designing what we thought was the best website out there, not only showing our cutting edge clothing ranges but crucially giving useful tips on things like ‘how to choose the right uniform for the type of job role your staff are doing’.
Our brand new website aims to take this idea and bat it out of the park. Not only do we now have the largest range in the UK, we aim to be a one-stop-resource for corporate clothing information.
We’ll be posting regularly to this blog, facebook and twitter pages, as well as updating our news section with press articles and emailing our newsletter to subscribers, who get a chance to win a suit when they sign up.
We see our website as a two-way street and really encourage you to comment on our blog, our facebook page and on twitter. In the near future we’ll be recruiting field testers, who’ll have the opportunity to test our exciting new garments in exchange for providing us with their feedback on our blog and facebook pages – ‘like‘ our facebook page now to be notified of availability.
We hope you enjoy our new website featuring our great range of staff uniforms, it certainly is extremely exciting for all of us here at Keltic, and we can’t wait to hear from you.