Two entrepreneurs who have spent years creating underwear that is designed to help protect women from sexual attacks are closing in on their ambition of finalising production-ready prototypes and bringing them to market. The pair, who identify themselves only as ‘Ruth’ and ‘Yuval’, run American textiles business AR Wear, which has devised underwear constructed with fabric resistant to pulling and cutting, and an internal skeleton to prevent removal by anyone other than the wearer.
As well as helping the wearer stay safe, the garments are designed to be discreet and complimentary to any outfit choice. AR Wear was founded in response to research that found that in the US, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, while 11 adults are raped each day in the UK, according to Rape Crisis. AR Wear revealed its idea for the product back in 2013 and has spent the past four years researching, developing and testing its designs. It has now submitted a patent application and produced a handful of ‘concept prototypes’ that it has revealed to prospective investors as part of a crowd funding campaign it has just embarked on. It is hoping to raise cash to finalise prototypes that are production-ready, while simultaneously continuing to develop additional styles and variations. “Once we have finalised the prototypes, we will start another round offunding for the investment required to create the production line,” they said. “Any funds we receive in excess of our target here will expedite the process of putting into operation the specifically designed production line that will be needed so that AR Wear can be available as soon as possible.” The pair added that their goal is to offer a wide range of wearable items, which will include assorted types and styles of underwear, running shorts and travelling shorts, suitable for different situations and the styles of individual users.
“The challenge was to design products that can be worn comfortably while still being able to frustrate an assault effectively. The garments must be very difficult for someone else to remove by either force or stealth (in situations where the victim cannot resist because she has had too much to drink, was drugged, or is asleep). “They need to be resistant to pulling, tearing and cutting while being comfortable to wear during normal activities and, as in the case of underwear, fit smoothly under form-fitting outer clothing.” The current crowdfunding drive has seen more than 2,200 investors pledge $55,000 (£40,000) to support the launch of the product. As well as raising money to finalise the prototype for production, AR Wear is approaching the fundraising project as a means of gauging industry support.