By Sonya Davidson
I was first introduced to the world of adaptive clothing at, of all places, the Royal Ontario Museum a few years ago. It was an eye-opening learning into the world of fashion that like many, had not even crossed my mind before that moment in time. Accomplished Canadian designer Izzy Cammelleri had given the design loving world a perspective in fashion that was often overlooked for people who have mobility issues. Her line IZ Adaptive offered more options not just in functionality in design but also in style and with dignity. I had her on my mind recently when we had to adjust to a family member living with dementia. Then, Juneadaptive.com caught my attention with their recent launch into the space. The site has brought eight fashion brands with a focus on contemporary styles that meet the needs in the adaptive market — whether it’s for people, and their caregivers, with temporary (recovery) wear or long term disabilities or even for those who are frustrated with inaccessible buttons and zippers.
Adaptive clothing is up close and personal for Juneadaptive.com’s founder Wendy Wong. A decade ago, her aunt June became quadriplegic after being involved in a motor vehicle collision. Unfortunately, Wendy was told that her aunt could only wear clothing with specific closures that would allow caregivers to dress her. Despite having a fashion background, Wendy couldn’t find clothes like this that also matched June’s fashion sense. This was an apparel need that the industry had failed to fill adequately at that time.
As life went on, Wendy met her partner whose mother lives with multiple sclerosis. With the same desire to help her in any way possible, she discovered adaptive fashion. But still, the field was relatively new and only a few companies were selling these clothes. In addition, most of the items weren’t easily accessible in Canada due to high shipping costs and limited return policies. Wendy wanted to help bring adaptive fashion to the mainstream and make it more accessible; thus, Juneadaptive.com was born — a one-stop shop of contemporary clothing for people who live with mobility challenges.