Written by Jahanvi Patel
Fashion is ever evolving. It is a form of art that goes beyond aesthetics, a means of self-expression and a medium for empowerment. In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the fashion industry to be more inclusive and diverse. One of the most significant strides is the rise of adaptive wear, clothing designed to cater to the unique needs of individuals with disabilities. This movement has been propelled forward by pop culture, specifically the figures in media that have emphasized the meaning of adaptive wear. Let’s delve into the history and evolution of adaptive wear and where it stands in the fashion industry today.
Influential Designers Leading the Way
Fashion designers play a pivotal role in shaping trends and introducing revolutionary changes to the industry. In Recent years, there has been a growing number of influential designers dedicating their creativity and expertise to creating adaptive wear collections. Their collections focus not only on functionality, but style as well redefining and reintroducing fashion aesthetics to the adaptive garment scene.
One example of such a designer is Tommy Hilfiger with the adaptive line launched in collaboration with Runway of Dreams. The collection features modified closures, adjustable seams, and magnetic buttons, all features designed to make the process of dressing simpler for people with disabilities. Hilfiger’s commitment to adaptive fashion truly shows how influence can pave a path for inclusivity in the industry!
Here's a sneak-peek into the Hilfiger collaboration line:
Breaking (Bad) Stereotypes: The Power of Celebrity Endorsement
It’s no secret that celebrities have a lot of influence over our consumer choices. When we see influential figures in media adapt certain styles, we can’t help but be drawn to it as well. So when celebrities use their platform to call support for adaptive garment initiatives, it really shows how much power celebrity endorsement can have.
Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte has spoken about his own hardships he has faced as someone with cerebral palsy. He shared how it was difficult for him to find clothing options whilst he was growing up using leg braces and crutches. Mitte has dedicated his platform to spreading word about adaptive wear by teaming up with Runway of Dreams to incorporate functional features in clothing.
His involvement in the fashion world has been instrumental in creating awareness and encouraging the mainstreamization of adaptive garments!
Lights, Camera, Action! Redefining the Red Carpet
The red carpet has always been a focal point for the fashion world, but its exclusivity has often left disabled people behind the scenes. However, in recent years, there has been a paradigm shift towards the representation on red carpets and other high-profile events.
A turning point for this was during the 2019 Oscars when actress Selma Blair, who has multiple sclerosis, made a statement by attending the event in a custom-designed adaptive gown and cane. Her look not only challenged stereotypes but showcased how adaptive wear can also be fashionable! Since then, many more celebrities with disabilities have embraced adaptive wear sending out the general message that clothing accessibility and inclusivity is a must.
Collaborations with Adaptive Wear Brand
Another way we have seen the growth of adaptive clothing is through the collaboration of influences with adaptive wear brands. One notable collaboration is with actress and model Ashley Graham’s partnership with inclusive brand Marina Rinaldi. Graham, who is an advocate for body positivity and inclusivity worked closely with the brand to create a line of adaptive clothing that caters to women of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.
Her work truly shows us how adaptive wear can be seamlessly integrated into mainstream fashion! So why is it that so many brands still refuse to do so?
The rise of adaptive clothing in the fashion industry truly shows the power of figures of influence in driving positive change. From designers dedicated in their work for inclusive change, to celebrities using their platforms to advocate for adaptive clothes, the movement towards inclusivity and accessibility is slowly but surely gaining momentum. By redefining fashion standards, adaptive wear opens up doors in the fashion world by challenging stereotypes and encouraging self-expression for people of all abilities.
As more designers, celebrities, and brands continue to embrace adaptive wear, the fashion industry takes a significant step forward in becoming a more inclusive and diverse space. We can see the change happening right in front of our eyes! From Aerie’s Adaptive Bra line to Nike’s FlyEase promotions, we can see the impact of these fashion-forward influences and how they go beyond aesthetics. It has allowed for a society where everyone can confidently express themselves through fashion.
Other brands, like June Adaptive, have dedicated their entire platform to accessible clothing. Take a look at some of these items:
All in all, let’s celebrate this positive change of adaptive wear together.