Tommy Hilfiger launches clothing line for people with disabilities
Thanks to efforts to increase diversity, disabled people are becoming more visible in society. This year Gerber selected their first spokesbaby with Down Syndrome, Sports Illustrated featured their first amputee in a Swimsuit Issue, and an inspirational bodybuilder went viral after sharing the disability he hid for 17 years. Their presence in pop culture helps other people with special needs feel accepted.
Getting dressed is easy for us, but for disabled people it can pose a challenge, and options at retailers are limited. In 2016, Tommy Hilfiger launched a clothing line that was more inclusive to children with special needs. To create the apparel, they partnered with Runaway Dreams, "a nonprofit that works toward a future of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity in the fashion industry for people with disabilities." The organization was founded by Mindy Scheier, whose son, Oliver, has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. She discovered that finding a pair of jeans for him was a struggle, and realized that millions of people around the world shared the same problem.
Last year Tommy Hilfiger expanded on that collection to include clothing for adults with disabilities. Now they have expanding once again, with the launch of Tommy Adaptive, an innovative clothing line with even more options for people with special needs. The line includes all your typical types of clothes, like dresses, pants, shorts, shirts, skirts and jackets. However, they've designed to be more comfortable for disabled people, and accommodate them whether they're missing a limb, autistic or in a wheelchair. The modifications include one-handed zippers, magnetic buttons, side-seam openings, bungee cord closures, velcro closures, adjustable hems, easy-open necklines and expanded back openings.
The promotional campaign features several notable figures from the disabled community: Paralympic track-and-field gold medalist Jeremy Campbell; motivational speaker Mama Caxx, who has a prosthetic leg; dancer Chelsie Hill, who uses a wheelchair, and 18-year-old autistic chef Jeremiah Josey. Also, they created the new clothing line based on feedback from their previous clothing line, making several improvements. "Tommy Adaptive's mission is to be inclusive and empower people of all abilities to express themselves through fashion," said the company in a press release.
Adaptive clothing lines from grown over the past few years. In addition to Tommy Hilfiger, Target has designed inclusive clothing for people with disabilities. In 2017, they launched their Cat & Jack brand, which caters to children with special needs. And since then, they've expanded their Universal Thread women's line to be more friendly to disabled people. Slowly but surely, the fashion industry is becoming more inclusive.
No one wants to feel limited by their disability, so the more options available for clothing, the better. Hopefully more mainstream retailers jump on board, and listen to the disabled community for feedback on how they can improve the designs. After all, clothing is important. When you wear something you like, you get a burst of confidence, and that's something everyone needs.