Accessible fashion isn’t something that’s talked about often, in fact you might be wondering what it actually means. Put simply, it’s clothing that disabled folk can easily wear both in terms of putting it on and taking the items off again, but also comfort when in a wheelchair or using crutches, etc.
1 in 5 adults in the UK are disabled according to Scope.
While 52% have a physical disability that affects mobility, other conditions can have an impact too, like fatigue and manual dexterity.
The fashion industry is sadly lacking in adaptive and accessible clothing
While some disabled models have taken to the catwalks in recent years, the first debut by a wheelchair using model was during New York Fashion week in 2014, however she’s a full-time psychologist.
Is that because the fashion industry don’t see the need for representative models on a full time basis?
We all know that designers have a particular body type and shape in mind when they create their collections, relying on mass manufacturers and brands to adapt their inspiration into high street clothing that fits the rest of us.
But where does that leave the disabled who seem to be considered a minority despite 13.9 million of us in the UK alone?
Tommy Hilfiger is leading the way with an innovative range of adaptive clothing
There have always been some companies that have made accessible clothing for those who need them, however, functionality has been the goal here leaving things very lacking in terms of fashion. If you’ve ever wondered why most visibly disabled folk you see are dressed similarly in loose, shapeless and boring clothing, you now know why.
But why shouldn’t we all be as fashionable as each other?
Being in a wheelchair doesn’t mean we don’t take pride in our appearance and want to make a good impression. That’s particularly the case when we work in a professional environment where the suited and booted look is usually called for.
While we’re still some way from accessible suits, Tommy Hilfiger has created a unique range that’s truly adaptive to the needs of the wearer and it looks pretty good too.
Magnetic buttons, one-handed zips and wrist loops make this clothing range easy to wear
The clothes themselves look the same as any other from the Tommy range, but some clever adjustments mean anyone can wear them. Magnetic buttons means that manual dexterity is no longer a problem, and with hidden expanding necklines and wrist loops to make things easier to pull on and off, one-handed dressing is now possible.
Unfortunately, this range is only available in the USA at the moment and although set for a UK release in 2019, it’s likely to be limited to major cities initially. Hopefully, this is just the start for the accessible clothing revolution and more designers will join the trend in future making this innovative and much needed clothing affordable and widely available.