When looking into adaptive fashion in the fashion industry, it is very important to note that making a fashion stores wheelchair-friendly is just a first step in ensuring the fashion industry is disability-friendly, but of what use is an accessible fashion store if there are no adaptive clothes, shoes and fashion accessories, in fact, each person with a disability lives a different experience and not all disabilities are the same, so people with disabilities need different types of adaptive fashion.
When it comes to adaptive fashion, if the clothes and shoes are made without people with disabilities in mind, it meant people with disabilities are being marginalized.
Going by World Health Organisation statistics, there are about 1.3 billion people with disabilities worldwide, with a massive aggregate disposable income of eight trillion dollars. This meant there is money for producers of adaptive clothing because people with disabilities will definitely go for clothing that makes them feel comfortable.
The fashion industry needs to ensure adaptive fashion is a top priority because there are more than enough customers. People with disabilities are paying consumers who deserve adaptive products designed with them in mind. They deserve true inclusion.
Here in America, we have a statistic of one in five people with disabilities and they need adaptive fashion, most of them have limited use of one or both hands, replacing conventional buttons with magnetic ones, hook and loop fasteners or zips is key when designing adaptive clothes, shoes or other fashion accessories.
I have seen viral videos of fashion companies promoting inclusive fashion lately through models with disabilities on runways at fashion shows, it is a huge step for inclusivity, but as we all know, virality can often be a symbol of the exception, not the rule.
The fact is, visibility doesn’t fix everything, and the fashion industry certainly shouldn’t be resting on its accolades, the fashion industry needs to keep encouraging fashion designers to design more adaptive clothes, shoes, and fashion accessories.
The fashion industry is not inclusive if fashion products are not disability-friendly. We need to keep advocating for a more disability-friendly industry.
Image credit: CEFutcher