Adaptive clothing: one mother’s journey

American fashion designer, Mindy Scheier, during her TED Talk

How do your clothes make you feel?

It might sound like a silly question, but research has shown that the clothes we wear can affect our mood: if we wear something we love, we feel confident; if we wear something we don’t, it can lead to feelings of self-consciousness.

The lack of adaptable clothing on the mainstream market for people with disabilities has left many feeling forgotten by the fashion industry.

However, more steps are being taken to make the market more accessible and inclusive for all.

BEGINNINGS

American fashion designer, Mindy Scheier, first entered the world of inclusive fashion after her son, who has Muscular Dystrophy (MD), decided he was fed up of wearing jogging bottoms every day. So, Mindy adapted one of his pairs of jeans, to make it easier to dress himself.

Cutting the leg to accommodate his leg braces, applying velcro to close around them, and replacing the zip and button with an elastic band, Mindy created her first pair of adapted trousers, which started a movement.

TOMMY HILFIGER

Soon after, Mindy approached fashion giant, Tommy Hilfiger, who launched their first adaptive clothing line, and brought the conversation about adaptive fashion into the limelight.

Tommy Hilfiger pieces include one-handed zippers, magnetic buttons, adjustable hems and easy-back openings. Not only is the range highly functional, but also stylish and fashionable, something that previous adaptive clothing had been criticised for.

And earlier this year, high street brand Marks and Spencer followed suit, launching their adaptive clothing range for children.

Though there is still much to be done, these steps from forward-thinking brands are positive, and it can only be hoped that they pave the way for adaptive clothing to hang on the rails of all high street stores, with changing rooms to try them on in, and staff who are trained on inclusivity.

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