Designer Tommy Hilfiger and Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit that collaborates with the fashion industry to adapt mainstream clothing using wearable technology for the differently abled community, partnered to create a clothing line that is easier for the aforementioned demographic to dress themselves.
Mindy Scheier, founder of Runway of Dreams and fashion designer by trade, says the idea for an adaptive clothing line came from an experience she had with her son, Oliver, who was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, which affects his ability to dress himself. When getting Oliver ready for school, Scheier had to decide whether to dress him in clothes with buttons and zippers that were difficult to manipulate, or something easier to deal with—especially when going to the bathroom.
“I made the decision that it was more important for him to be able to wear what the other kids are wearing, so it was really at that point that I felt a change needed to be made in the industry—that there needed to be mainstream clothing for the differently abled community, and that’s where runway of dreams was born,” Scheier says.
Through a lot of research, focus groups, and surveys, Scheier says she was able fine-tune specific modifications that could be implemented in clothing to make it easier for the differently abled community to dress themselves. Scheier says there were three main modifications made to mainstream clothing:
- Closures: “Buttons, snaps, and zippers are a very big challenge for this demographic,” Scheier says. Traditional closures were replaced with MagnaReady®, a safe magnet system that was created specifically for use in clothing.
- Adjustability: Each item in the adaptive clothing line comes with the built-in ability to adjust the waistband and pant and sleeve length to accommodate for limb differences, a seated vs. standing body, and different body shapes and sizes.
- Getting in and out of clothing: The line was created with different ways to get into and out of clothing. For example, if a person has low muscle tone, it could be difficult to pull a sweatshirt over their head. With the adaptive line, the opening is in the back of the garment to go in hands first with magnetic closures in the back.
The adaptive clothing line is the exact same as Hilfiger’s spring collection, “which is the greatest thing about this partnership,” Scheier says. “There should be no differences between what a differently abled child can wear and a typical child can wear.” And the cost of each item is identical in price to Hilfiger’s spring line.
Tommy Hilfiger’s adaptive clothing line is available on tommy.com.