Brands create clothing for people with special needs
While there’s still a long way to go, the fashion industry has been making major strides toward inclusivity in recent years, from brands refusing to airbrush photos to featuring diverse people in their marketing. As young consumers look to brands to help create a more inclusive society, a growing number of companies are producing adaptive clothing to ease challenges people with disabilities often face when getting dressed.
Online retailer ASOS recently garnered much praise for releasing a jumpsuit made specifically with wheelchair users in mind. Created in partnership with 21-year-old Chloe Ball-Hopkins, a BBC reporter and British Paralympian, the tie-dye waterproof ensemble has adjustable cuffs and zips around the waist, making it easier for people to take it on and off. Hopkins reached out to ASOS about creating adaptive apparel after a bad experience at a rainy music festival, where she knew she couldn’t wheel in a poncho or easily use an umbrella. ASOS immediately agreed to work with her, including her in the design process and featuring her as a model.
Last year, Target became a champion of inclusivity when it expanded its children’s line, Cat & Jack, to include adaptive and sensory-friendly clothing. Now, the retailer is further expanding its efforts, offering apparel that serves these same purposes for adult women, too. Earlier this year the retailer launched a size-inclusive brand called Universal Thread which includes adaptive jeans that have smoothed creases to reduce pressure points, no back pockets, and wider legs to lessen challenges when dressing, as well as to help improve mobility. Additionally, sensory-friendly shirts are made with softer materials and have flat seams and no tags.
PBS KIDS & ZAPPOS
Gen Zs are characteristically empathetic and inclusive, due in large part to their diverse makeup and global exposure. Given their focus on acceptance and equality, they expect brands to possess the same values. PBS Kids and Zappos are among the brands that do so, having teamed up earlier this year to create a gender-neutral adaptive clothing line for kids. The collection, which consists of reversible, colorful t-shirts and lounge pants, has dissolvable tags and no buttons to ensure that nothing can be put on wrong. The clothing comes with PBS Kids graphics, including dinosaurs, rainforests, oceans, and air travel.