Designer Shalini Visakan brings style, practicality to her clothing line for disabled people
Chennai-based designer Shalini Visakan was looking for small ways to make travel easier for her businessman husband, Visakan Rajendiran, who uses a wheelchair. That journey eventually led to the launch of Suvastra Designs, a vibrant and innovative adaptive fashion line for people with disabilities.
Me and my husband used to travel a lot, it has always been a problem shifting him from wheelchair to aircraft seat, wheelchair to car, wheelchair to bed in the hotel. People who try to help him don't know how to handle him and hurt him by pulling his hand or leg in a wrong angle. The next big problem is toilets are always inaccessible. If the clothes are also Inaccessible, it becomes more difficult. This is how the concept started – Shalini Visakan, Founder, Suvastra Designs
Designed with thought
Designing clothes for people with disabilities requires creative, ingenious thinking. This shows in the small touches that Shalini has introduced in her line. From the placement of zippers, use of Velcro, and pressing buttons, there are small touches to meet everyone’s needs.
The design depends on every person's needs according to their needs. Its customized according to their needs – Shalini Visakan, Founder, Suvastra Designs
From designing at home for her husband, this fashion design graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Chennai has built up quite a clientele, which is made up of people with disabilities as well as the elderly.
I had stopped wearing sarees completely as it was difficult to manage it in a wheelchair. I used to wear a nightie even when I went out and people would look at me strangely. Now thanks to Shalini’s specially designed sarees, I can go out the way I sued to – Vasudha, Senior Citizen
The clothes look great and are very comfortable tow ear. I have started going out much more now – J D Madhan Spinal cord injury survivor
For now, Shalini is working out of home but hopes to launch an inclusive fashion store next month in Chennai. This way she wants to reach out to both people with and without disabilities.
Its basically a new concept in India its taking time to reach people. But people who are using it are very happy and comfortable using it. The adaptive saree has been a great hit, not only among differently abled people but also old ladies prefer this since it’s easy to wear – Shalini Visakan, Founder, Suvastra Designs
Suvastra Designs has a wide range to choose from apart from sarees. There is a Indo-western party wear, salwar kameez which come with attached dupattas, palazzos and stylish looking sherwanis and dhoti pants for men. She plans to expand her range to include kids as well in the future.
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