Bike Helmet Boutique was one of three winning ideas in the American Express Room for Thought Project, a campaign launched to find big ideas across Australia in the areas of community, fashion and music.
Brisbane student Kate Applegarth, 23, won the fashion category following an interest in bike helmets at university.
“The idea came from my public health background as I just finished a masters in public health where I was asked to have a look at the mandatory helmet laws in Australia and access whether I thought they were valuable. It wasn’t in terms of head injuries as obviously helmets prevent head injuries but in terms of a whole public health issue,” Applegarth said.
Kate learned that the when mandatory bicycle helmet laws were introduced in Australia there was a 30-40 per cent decline in public cycling participation.
“If you’re going to impose a law on people at least give them options to choose from and helmets that they’re going to be happy to wear. As we know people are image conscious as frivolous as it is but people are inclined to want to look good on their bike," Applegarth said.
When it comes to creating funky, fun, fashionable niche items there’s no better man who understands the concept then the undisputed king of sleepwear, Peter Alexander.
“Kate’s idea is to turn something that is a necessity which is a bicycle riding helmet into a fashion accessory, which people will say ‘that is so cute, I want it!’ So it’s similar with what I did 25 years ago, turning pyjamas which were daggy, into a fashion item,” Alexander said.
Just as importantly it’s hoped the helmets which can easily be mistaken for a sun hat or baseball cap will encourage people to get back on their bike which in turn is good for the environment and great for their health!