Advancements in inclusive design

In recent years, the spread of body-positive activism has prompted companies to create products for consumers with bodies outside the “norm.” Despite this, however, disabled bodies are often overlooked by the fashion industry. Only recently has this begun to change with the push for adaptive fashion, which is geared towards consumers with physical or mental disabilities. Today, we’re taking a look at three organizations at the forefront of the push for accessible adaptive fashion.

Image with the Adaptista logo


Adaptista, which Vogue dubbed “the Farfetch of adaptive fashion,” is a “disabled-led” and inclusive fashion marketplace. Having just launched this year, Adaptista is a newcomer to the industry and was created with the goal of encouraging big fashion brands to embrace accessible fashion. Adaptista launched with a hyper-curated roster of 12 brands, though founder Maria O’Sullivan-Abeyratne has said she has a list of more than 5,000 labels she hopes to eventually add. Adaptista’s online presence reflects their activist mission, as their site is designed specifically with the comfort of disabled online shoppers in mind.

Image with the Aerie and Liberare logo


Aerie, American Eagle’s line of underwear that has morphed into a powerhouse in its own right, collaborated with adaptive fashion brand Liberare to release a collection of undergarments for disabled consumers. The Aerie x Liberare collection has multiple features to accommodate those with limited physical mobility; for example, bras utilize magnets instead of hooks, and lace panties with openings at the side that make them easier to slip into. The goal of the collaboration, according to Liberare's Chief Creative Officer Alyssa Silva, is to provide an alternative to the “medical or ugly” adaptive apparel that dominates the marketplace, by selling undergarments that are both accessible and aesthetically pleasing.

Image with the Open Style Lab logo


Open Style Lab is a nonprofit organization that aims to make fashion more accessible to consumers with disabilities. This month, Open Style Lab made its NYFW debut with its own runway show. Called Double Take, they featured apparel designed in collaboration with the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) community. However, the intended audience for the show was not just intended for those with SMA, but for the larger disabled community. This follows Open Style Lab’s modus operandi for creating adaptive fashion, as they rely on the input of disabled members when designing their products. As stated in their website’s tagline, Open Style Lab is all about “designing with — not for — each other.”