Finally, there's some awesome news for inclusivity in the fashion industry — and it comes from a major designer. Top fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger has created an adult adaptive clothing collection specifically designed for people with disabilities, making it easier for them to get dressed independently and in style.
Adaptive clothing addresses a range of issues that people with physical disabilities may encounter with while getting dressed, such as zippers, buttons, and other closures. But mainstream fashion has not caught on with the necessity of adaptive fashion, often only making inaccessible designs. But people of varying abilities certainly want to look fashionable and care about personal style. And Tommy Hilfiger is catering to their specific, and often ignored, needs.
According to a press release, this new adaptive Hilfiger collection features 37 men's pieces and 34 women's items, all of which are based on existing Tommy Hilfiger collections. The line arrived on Oct. 18 at the brand's website, and is priced according to standard styles.
The clothes are thoughtfully crafted with the end consumer in mind and some of the modifications include adjusted seams, magnetic shoulders, and front and back closures to help pull clothes over the head. Velcro closures and magnetic flies are also included on pants, jeans, and chinos.
Additional modifications include adjusted leg openings and hems to accommodate leg braces and orthotics. There are also pant with loops that fit around the wrist to help in pulling up trousers independently for those with limited hand and arm mobility.
Adaptive clothing is often designed for people who use wheelchairs, as well as for those who live with a variety of different mobility-related conditions, like muscular dystrophy. Modified clothing is also a terrific option for people who have been outfitted with prosthetics.
The design adjustments made by Hilfiger allow for ease of dressing for the individuals themselves or their caretakers. Ultimately, the overall aesthetic remains true to the American sportswear vibe that has long defined the ever-popular Hilfiger brand.
Previously in 2016, Tommy Hilfiger created a line of adaptive children's clothing. According to Racked, Hilfiger worked with adaptive shirting brand MagnaReady and nonprofit Runway of Dreams, to create the line, the latter of which is an organization founded by fashion designer Mindy Scheier. Scheier's son Oliver has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and wanted to wear jeans to school, just like his friends. Scheier realized that millions of people like her son don't have access to stylish clothes that meets their needs, so she decided to work to make adaptive clothing more mainstream.
The response and success of Hilfiger children's line lead to the creation of the adult range.
"Inclusivity and the democratization of fashion have always been at the core of my brand's DNA," Tommy Hilfiger said in an official statement. "These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion."
The Tommy Hilfiger's adult adaptive clothing line is certainly a victory for fashion inclusivity. While plenty of strides have been made regarding size and gender inclusiveness in recent years, the industry still struggles to recognize people with disabilities almost entirely. Hilfiger is working to close that gap, effectively making apparel more accessible to a wider variety of people of all experiences and abilities.
Since Hilfiger is a household name and a mainstream fashion brand, this collection is certainly calling attention to exactly how the fashion industry can and should work harder to include people with disabilities in their lines.
Let's hope the fashion industry follows Hilfiger's lead and further democratizes fashion to fully embrace everyone. Consider this a notable step forward worth celebrating.