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A contest that seeks to celebrate innovative designs in adaptive wear for people with disabilities

Be it comfort or style, people with disabilities are low on the priority list for clothing lines or fashion designers in India. From wearing pants to buttoning shirts, disabled people mostly have to improvise, and the final result may not always be something to your choice or sense of well-being.

Something that bothers Anita Iyer, Founder, EKansh Trust, the Pune-based NGO that works to promote inclusion in education and employment, deeply. And it has led to her to launch a contest in designing clothing for people with disabilities. The aim is to make budding designers aware of the difficulties that people of different disability types face while wearing clothes.

There is nothing that is being designed specifically for people with disabilities. At EKansh, we are always looking for ways to sensitize students about such things. There is plus-sized clothing now which addresses different body types. There should be a trend for wheelchair users and other disability types as well. - Anita Narayan Iyer, Founder, EKansh Trust

Rules of the game

The competition is pan-India and open to everyone. Each team must have five members, of which three should be students of fashion or garment design, one fashion designer and a mentor, who has a disability. The mentor has to give the team a detailed insight of the specific challenges linked to his or her disability. The disability has to be such that it causes discomfort while dressing, so categories like deaf and hard of hearing are not included.

Each team has to submit a video of the mentor talking about the issues faced while dressing independently and how the garment entered addresses those challenges. Photos have to be submitted as well.

The deadline for entries is mid-July, with the finale, rather fittingly, scheduled for Independence Day. The panel of judges will include experts from the field of disability, textiles, a senior citizen as well as a designer who can talk about the possibility of scaling such a design. The winner will be called to Pune for a ramp walk.

Entries have started coming in already, says Iyer. "As of last week, three people with disabilities have written in saying they want to take part, including a mother with a disabled child, who says she is interested given the hassles children face in wearing school uniforms".

It's an idea that has got a big thumbs up from people with disabilities. Para sports personJustin Jesudas says this will help create greater awareness. "This is a good initiative by Anita Iyer to target young designers. One, they will understand the challenges that people with disabilities face. Two, they will be able to include these designs in their portfolios for modelling shows or designer lines. This way it will help promote inclusion and create awareness among people without disabilities".

Jasmina Khanna, a Mumbai-based working woman hopes the contest will lead to some exciting designs in Indian wear.

"I can't wear clothes like skirts, ghagras or sarees as a wheelchair user because they tend to fly off the legs. The problem is more with Indian clothes. When I wear a salwaar kameez I cannot take dupatta due to less hand control. Same is the reason I don't wear a lehenga, so I end up missing out on formal Indian clothes".

All valuable inputs for budding designers looking to make their mark on the Indian fashion scene. So, what are you waiting for? This is a unique chance to test your skills and imagination! Click on - http://www.ekansh.org/ad-dress-now.html?fbclid=IwAR1FHKIS6t98GBstZW4qwdh0Z6wyKBvbNBsE7sFeorXZfFvvgnrhGKvX5lg

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