Fashion is a way to express yourself.
Adding a few new pieces to your closet is a way to relieve and re-energize everything. It’s a way I express myself to the world, making me feel alive and confident.
Me (Terry) and Tamara were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 27, and on Twincast2coast, we share our stories and thoughts to spread awareness and help lift people with related chronic illnesses to live a happy and healthy life.
While we are very different individuals, we share the same outlook on life! We like to dress up and be comfortable while looking stylish. While the fast-paced fashion industry with new trends and fashions makes me think that fashion labels and designers may not be as aware of physically disabled people’s needs and requirements. Fashion labels and designers are moving on a single track that is meant for selected body types.
It’s not just that physically able people enjoy wearing stylish clothing, but people with disabilities also appreciate wearing comfortable yet stylish clothing designed specifically for their lifestyle.
This raises an important question- Are there enough adaptive clothing brands for people with disabilities, and what changes are brands making to expand and fulfill the requirements of disabled people?
Come on, let’s find out!
Changes are Sweeping the Fashion Industry
A small number of brands produce adaptive and comfortable clothing for disabled people. Tommy Hilfiger, Zappos, Ffora, Slick Chicks are examples of some of the adaptable clothing line brands that keep the wants and needs of consumers at the heart of their designs and offer a wide selection.
I believe Tommy Higfiler’s initiative to start with children and later expand to adults and all types of disabilities were thoughtful and smart. It was a smart move to start with children and expand to other categories.
“Tommy Adaptive’s mission is to be inclusive and empower people of all abilities to express themselves through fashion,” the company said in a press release.
Besides providing clothing for people with special needs, the brand also runs advertisements and campaigns with the help of disabled personalities like dancer Chelsie Hill and motivational speaker Mama Cax.
The company does not just design clothing, but also tries out new things and aligns with the values and mission of the clothing by running advertisements with models that speak to the targeted niche and enhance their sense of confidence and style.
What sets this brand apart from others is the fact that they are receptive to customer feedback, filling in the gaps and creating adaptive clothing.
Yet there remains a huge gap in terms of experimentation and style, which still needs to be filled in order to create stylish outfits.
The changes that must be made-
A number of brands have started expanding their clothing lines to cater to disabled consumers or creating clothes that can be worn by both non-disabled and disabled consumers. Here are a few points that I believe need to be changed to bring change in the industry and overall public view.
Using Disabled Models
Brands can use disabled models to market clothing to target the right audience, connect with them and catch their eyes. Utilizing social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube to promote a product is a good idea.
Designers need to be open-minded when designing clothes, as the clothes speak of your personality and so does the thought process of the designer.
Changing The View Of Functional Clothing
Individuals with disabilities are often labeled ugly and unsightly and people think they feel the same about themselves. This makes the designer design functional clothing with a view that disabled people are meant to conceal, cover, and create illusions that are not intended to be seen by the public. Therefore, this approach is not the best way to portray the collective image of the disability community to the general public.
Challenging The Assumptions
Designers have some specific assumptions about the sort of people who will wear the clothes; certainly not people with wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Designers who do consider the physical disabilities will focus more on the function than on the form of the dresses.
Trying to find the right garment for the rack and adjusting it by making some small changes is a constant struggle.
Disability does not make people less interested in fashion. They are updated with the most recent fashion trends just like any other person and would love to pull it off.
How to choose the right clothes for you?
With these five major tips, you will be able to pick the right type of clothing and discover some options you may not have known about.
The fabric of the cloth plays a crucial role for any type of dress, the length of the dress matters, and the fabric should be skin-friendly. I find maxi dresses to be elegant and comfortable but I would like to have less fabric in them as they are difficult to manage (as the extra cloth may get caught up in the wheelchair).
Comfort in dressing
Clothes should be comfortable and stylish, as they should be easy to slip on and off without too much strain on the body parts. For people in wheelchairs, the shoes should be light, anti-skid soles, adjustable straps, long shoelaces, and pull tabs so that they can easily wear and remove them.
The clothing should include easy-access snaps, fabrics that stretch easily, and convenient designs for elderly and disabled people. An example would be a large neck and loose-fitting arms, pants with a side zipper, elastic that is loose or adsorbable, and magnetic closures instead of zippers.
Home try offers for online shoppers
Look for options for a home trial so you are free from the hassle of returns and refunds and can pick the right fit. You can try on clothes and dress comfortably with brands like Mmlafleur.
An in-depth description helps to determine if a particular style of clothing is suitable for the wearer. Also, featuring ambulatory and disabled models for the product will help the buyer to pick the right outfit with ease and realistic depiction.
It’s hard for designers to create and sell chair fashion but the opportunities are humongous to fill the gap and come up with phenomenally creative and stylish dresses that can be fitted to any body type and bring about a revolution.