By Allie Murray
For far too long, the fashion industry has been lacking one important thing: disability-friendly clothing. Now, brands are stepping up to create and offer adaptive clothing, striving to make the fashion world fun and inclusive for all.
Disability-friendly clothing has been dubbed as adaptive fashion, utilizing designs that are easier for those with disabilities or caregivers, such as rear-closures, velcro, softer fabrics for comfort for wheelchair users, and more.
These three brands are pulling on real-life challenges that they themselves, and others worldwide, struggle with every day, showcasing the importance (and style!) of adaptive fashion.
What started as a side project that founder Marta Elena Cortez-Neavel took on while applying to medical school turned into an adaptive clothing brand that took the world by storm. She was inspired to start an adaptive clothing line for infants by her friend who worked as a pediatric surgeon for babies with medical devices.
Blending her love for fashion and passion and knowledge in the medical field, Marta created Abilitee Adaptive Wear, offering adaptive fashion for disabled infants, children and adults.
“Everyone who was facing clothing-related challenges as a result of their disability could benefit from clothing designed with their preferences and needs in mind,” she explained. “And many people were asking for this, but the market wasn’t responding in a meaningful way.”
Abilitee paved the way for its own brand, which relaunched with new items earlier this year, as well as secured a partnership with American Eagle’s Aerie, releasing a collaboration with the brand and named their Adaptive Brand Partner.
Abilitee is also working with the Futurekind Initiative for Disability Inclusion on “Project Futurekind,” which aims to open up conservation about inclusive, adaptive clothing and give brands the tools they need to join the movement.