Brands launch apparel for children with special needs
Per the Cassandra Report: Gender, 34% of teen Gen Zs, including 47% of females, would like to see better representation of people with disabilities in entertainment and marketing. Though content has some catching up to do, products are making progress. The Dot Braille smartwatch was recently honored at Cannes Lions, and big brands are making strides to promote inclusivity for customers of all ages and abilities.
Earlier this year, Tommy Hilfiger partnered with Runway of Dreams to create a collection of adaptive clothing that addresses the challenges the nearly 15 million children living with disabilities in the U.S. face each day when getting dressed. The line was inspired by Runway of Dreams founder Mindy Scheier’s son, who has a form of muscular dystrophy and didn’t want to let his leg braces stop him from wearing jeans. The reception has been overwhelmingly positive, with customers from almost all 50 states purchasing items and 20% of the brand’s kids’ business being driven by this capsule collection.
MARKS & SPENCER
Inspired by a three-year-old boy who suffers from a rare genetic condition that renders him unable to speak, sit, stand, or walk, British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer announced it would create an affordable clothing collection designed for children with special needs. The high-street brand’s line of specialist bodysuits and sleepwear is tailored for children with disabilities that require them to wear clothing with snaps and fasteners for easy removal. Though such items are typically sold for babies and toddlers, they are not readily available in the larger sizes that older children with disabilities need.
An easy-entry footwear system designed to help athletes of all abilities and ages perform better, Nike’s FLYEASE was introduced on the LeBron Soldier 8 last summer, the brainchild of designer Tobie Hatfield. Its success has propelled the brand to launch three more shoes for kids and adults that integrate the FLYEASE system, which features a wrap-around zipper that opens up the heel of the shoe for ease of entry. Once zipped, the sneaker’s technology eliminates the need for tying laces—perfect for people on the go or those who would otherwise need a little extra assistance.