Fashion designers wake up to growing demand for accessible style choices
In recent years, many top fashion brands like ASOS and Tommy Hilfiger have introduced adaptive clothing for people with disabilities. Hilfiger even has an exclusive line called Tommy Adaptive line, which says a lot.
From children to adults, Tommy Adaptive reaches out to disabled people of all age groups, with exclusive spring, summer and winter collections. Recently, they created a one-minute video featuring disabled models and adaptive clothing, which is a big hit among disabled people across the world.
Priya Bhargava, who is the title winner of Miss Wheelchair India 2015, hopes designers in India follow suit. Priya is in talks with a leading brand, which plans to launch adaptive clothing in India.
What we need most are stylists who can design for people with different types of disabilities. Like a person with polio needs clothes are loose towards the legs Only a stylist can help find the right clothes according to their needs and choices. - Priya Bhargava, Miss Wheelchair India 2015.
Some designers in India are making a mark in the field of adaptive fashion. Like Shalini Visakan, in Chennai whose brand Suvastra is using innovative techniques to make traditional Indian wear accessible.
Developments like these are closely tracked by people like Shivaprasad S, a wheelchair cricketer from Bengaluru, who loves keeping up to date with the latest trends.
"I hope our Indian brands also follow suit and introduce exclusive adaptive clothing line here. What Tommy has done is indeed great", says Shivaprasad.
Trends that budding designer Rhea Pandey feels greatly encouraged by. Pandey, who is studying fashion design, got interested in adaptive fashion when she was diagnosed with pseudarthrosis tibia, a condition that required her to wear a brace at all times.
"I used to really struggle to find clothes that would accommodate my plaster. In college, I got to know about social entrepreneurship and realized that I could come up with clothes for disabled people."
Pandey plans to eventually create a brand that can be worn by everyone, people with and without disabilities. "An integrated clothing brand product that is for everyone."
She also plans to develop a Braille label so blind people can wear the colour of their choice, independently.
Perhaps the future of adaptive fashion lies here in India with designers like her.