From the Archive: Rohan All Lite Up

Rohan Flashback Fabric

The picture above is all that is left of any illustration showing Rohan Flashback garments. Flashback was another very early bespoke Rohan fabric. Created for a particular end use. We have mentioned on Rohantime other early Rohan fabric developments in the Rohan on Everest  and The History of Rohan Airlight

This is a transcript of the above text regarding Flashback published in the 1982 catalogue:

“Amazing night-time safety fabric which was introduced by us about 5 years ago to glowing reviews in the press and enthusiastic testimonials from users. However, numbers sold didn’t really justify full scale production. Recently though, we’ve been remaking some for special customers and have produced a few dozen extra which we will now sell off at a fraction of the cost. In daylight, Flashback looks and feels like a high quality close woven polyester cotton (which, not entirely by chance, it is ). Come nightfall, however, the wearer appears to glow brightly in the lights of on coming motorists, giving motorists ample warning of your presence ( and a breath test if he tells the Police what he saw). The secret is millions of glass spheres in the fabric which throws direct light back onto its source – but not to the peripherals of vision, thus avoiding “corner of eye” sightings which could alarm drivers.

The fabric is comfortable and highly water-repellent, although less breathable than some.The design we used is that of an Action Jacket with its long back, folding hood and four security pockets/ The special offer price is only £35.00 and it makes me weep”.

Note this is the uncensored version. Even today this would raise eyebrows. I can just see it in the cycle mags. £35.00 over 29 years ago was a little high!

The first Flashback garments came to the market in 1978/79. The garment was called Road Runner and the fabric was called Early Warning. Road Runner was a two piece suit, similar in style to the early Action Jackets. The jacket was lined with a terry polypropylene lining. This made it very expensive indeed. The second reincarnation of Flashback garments were unlined.

Flashback way ahead of its time.

Sarah Howcroft

flashback keswickps. Stop Press…

I have just been told by Ben Rohan Keswick that a Flashback Garment has been donated to the Keswick Rohan Original collection. Ben told me the jacket has joined the ever-increasing Rohan Originals collection in the Keswick shop. A big thank you to Ian and Anne Ellmore for the jacket.  If you are in The Lakes please call in and see the collection.

Rohan Heritage


  1. Peter Clinch says:

    This is a flash photo of my Action Jacket…

    • Sarah Howcroft says:

      Lovely photo. Great to see it still working…

      • Peter Clinch says:

        I’ll see if I can do better than a quick ‘phone snap of the coat rack once it’s dark and my Trusty Assistant is about…

        I’ve had it for about 10 years, originally picked up from eBay so don’t know the exact age. My most-used day to day jacket by some margin, so it’s not like its led a sheltered life for at least a decade of its total age.

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