Swine flu got you down? Nothing telegraphs “don’t stand so close to me” more effectively than a jacket covered in a porcupine’s worth of sharp, pointy quills. The unisex topper, conceived by eight industrial-design students at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, offers mass-transit commuters a visually striking way to keep fellow straphangers at bay.

LOOKING SHARP

Made from Eco-fi felt, a polyester fiber derived from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, the Chic Peak jacket was developed in a scant 48 hours as part of the university’s annual design charrette. The team was asked to address the role design could play in providing passenger-safe transportation, despite the peril of flu season and the looming specter of H1N1.

Nothing telegraphs “don’t stand so close to me” better than a jacket covered in pointy quills.

“Why not take an uncomfortable issue and create a social dialogue?” remarked the designers on their website. “Our wearables send a distinct message to others that says, ‘I’m under the weather and you may not want to get too close to me right now.'”

+ Chic Peak

+ University of the Arts in Philadelphia