Adaptive clothing now at your doorstep, thanks to these Indian fashion brands
Many of us don't have to worry all that much about what to wear. We are not talking about colours and design, but about actually having to button a shirt, or tie that pyjama drawstring. For people with disabilities, though, these are real, everyday issues and challenges that many mainstream fashion brands in India are not paying attention to.
So, it is good to see that there are some new players who are making an effort to reflect and reach out to customers with disabilities. Latest on the scene is Orofit, a custom clothing company for men that eventually plans to include women and children.
Orofit, which is based in Mumbai, goes the extra mile by going to the homes of clients to take measurements. This is a boon for people who are wheelchair users or live outside Mumbai. The service is called Stylist At Home, and an appointment is booked with a client at a convenient location, with the stylist following up with a visit along with a collection of fabric swatches for selection and approval.
Among their clients is para swimming champion Mohammed Shams Alam Shaikh. "Getting custom fit clothes for people who use wheelchairs is quite difficult and I have often struggled to find the right fit, especially in formal wear," says Shaikh. "The Orofit team designed a shirt and pant for me and they came to my home to take the measurements, which is co convenient."
Orofit founder Dilip Jain says he aims to reach out to people who have distinct needs while dressing up, regardless of whether or not they are disabled.
We cater to people who need custom fit clothes or have distinct needs while dressing up. We never targeted disabled customers but everyone is welcome to experience the bespoke service at their doorstep. We started Orofit because we got tired of wearing ill-fitting clothes and paying luxury prices for luxury quality. So we obsessively re-engineered menswear to make each garment one at a time, guaranteeing fit and eliminating unnecessary mark-ups. - Dilip Jain, Founder, Orofit Custom Clothing Co.
It's a service that is a godsend, especially for a disabled person who often has to negotiate inaccessible malls or stores to find the right fit. And then there are the hassles of managing buttons and zippers.
For C H Abhijith, a student in , who has cerebral palsy, managing the buttons and hooks in conventionally made pants and shirts is a struggle. A Google search led him to Suvastra Designs.
This accessible fashion wear brand, which targets men and women, was founded by Chennai-based Shalini Visakan. Shalini wanted to make travel easier for businessman husband Visakan, who uses a wheelchair and this was the trigger for the brand.
"We go to people's homes in Chennai and based upon their needs, we design clothes for them, be it sarees or men's wear," says Co-founder, Suvastra Designs Visakan Rajendiran. "When it comes to clients outside Chennai, we tell them to send us a video describing exactly what they need as well as the difficulties they face. If they have a sample of something they wear that fits them right, we ask them to courier that as well. We design based on their inputs."
Suvastra has 20 people with disabilities as their clients, many of them in cities like Trichy, Pune and Chandigarh. Abhijit plans to become a regular.
"I ordered two pants from Suvastra and they are comfortable and easy to wear. All I did was send pictures of myself on WhatsApp along with my measurements and they couriered them to me," he says. "I do not have to struggle with buttons any more. All I do is pull on the pants. I will surely order again."
Internationally, top fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Nike, to name a few, are finally taking into account the needs of people with disabilities. Time that brands in India see the business potential in this segment as well so that people with disabilities don't have to improvise when it comes to choosing what to wear.