Finding clothes can be a struggle for everyone. But for those who don’t fit the norm of mental health, finding clothes easy to wear and incapable of being difficult can be even harder. Fortunately, adaptive clothing for those with disabilities is on the rise.
Despite being released in April, the Tommy Adaptive clothing line has not received as much media attention as it deserves. Inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of the Special Olympics, Tommy Hilfiger decided to join the #inclusionrevolution which is a hashtag used to accurately portray those with disabilities. This clothing line is for men and women and shows how Tommy Hilfiger has expanded their knowledge and efforts since 2016, when they worked with non-profit organization Runway of Dreams in debuting the first ever fashion line for children with disabilities.
The Tommy Adaptive Clothing line makes putting on clothes and removing them so much easier than what is currently available in stores for everyone. Easy and simple articles are: magnetic closures hold up pants and shirts, incredibly useful for those who have difficulty with buttons or zippers, one handed zippers supported by a magnet base which helps those who have difficulty zippering, adjustable waists and hems for comfort and support, easy back, neck and side openings available with magnets for those who struggle with tight clothing, wide leg openings for those who need more room for prosthetic or comfort, and a low front but high back top so those in wheelchairs have better access and comfort.
This kind of clothing line is revolutionary. Of course, there have been other adaptive clothing lines. Target’s adaptive clothing line began with a collaboration of Cat and Jack to create for children diaper-friendly leggings and bodysuits and zip off sleeves, and currently Target offers wider legs in jeans with buttons and flattened seams. Zappos.com offers shoes that are easy to slip on and off, reversible clothing and magnetic closures, and clothes tailored for those with sensory, orthotic, post-surgical and treatment needs. But this is a well-known fashion brand going forward and aiding a community of people that lack clothing tailored to their disabilities and needs. This fashion line goes above and beyond velcro closures and uses many unique and helpful techniques for working with disabilities.
Tommy Hilfiger stated when initially releasing the line, “The democratization of fashion has always been at the core of our brand’s DNA. That’s why we are proud to be a sponsor of Special Olympics and feature several of their athletes in our newest campaign.” This further presents those with disabilities in a healthy and strong way, showing youth and adults that they can also accomplish things like these athletes and feel not so alone.
Not just stopping there, Tommy Hilfiger has a link at the bottom of their web page, urging shoppers to submit their feedback on the clothing line via email. Some organizations may have ended their involvement in adaptive clothing after the release, but encouraging feedback keeps the possibility of altering clothing and adding more apparel to the line an option.
Tommy Hilfiger may not be a store that every single person likes to shop at, but it has taken a massive and impressive leap towards inclusion in ways that other clothing companies have not.
Photo: Daian Gan