Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

New test to make fancy dress costumes safer

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has introduced two voluntary codes of practice on flammability tests, in a bid to make children’s fancy dress costumes safer.

The trade body said that an accident involving TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter Matilda in 2014, who was left with severe burns after her Halloween costume caught fire, had exposed the need for more ”robust” flammability testing.

The new BRC standard test for flammability has a more stringent requirement of a maximum burn rate of 10mm a minute, compared to 30mm a minute previously.

David Bolton, head of product safety at the BRC, said: “We have led the way in developing guidance and tools to help all companies, not just our members, test products to a standard above current regulations to give their customers the reassurances they rightly demand. First introduced in 2016, we continue to review and refine it to ensure it is robust and add to a company’s own due diligence process. We have also been working with BSI [the British Standards Institution] to encourage Europe to adopt our standard.

“Whilst this is a valuable tool for all companies, we are still recommending that the UK government and EU authorities revisit the legislation to ensure all products on the market are effectively regulated to reflect the hazards presented by today’s style of costumes, including the fabrics and finishes used.”


Readers' comments (1)

  • The historical re-enactment community has been responding to similar problems for years in their costuming, especially since there tends to be a greater proximity to open flame ignition sources when worn in context. (And injury due to flammable clothing was a well known problem historically, too). Likely to remain a problem with cosplayers given the types of fabrics likely to be used in cosplay costume construction.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out that the heavier traditional natural fabrics tend to be less flammable, especially wool, linen, and to a lesser extent quality cotton. So historical accuracy tends to be safer, too. As long as the clothing is not dirty/greasy.

    So the costume garment industry really should have known better.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.