Sustainable fashion is on the rise as consumers increasingly opt for second-hand clothing or demand transparency and accountability from their favorite brands. But this doesn’t mean sustainable style is accessible to everyone.
Plus-size people have fewer options for ethical and eco-friendly clothing, and individuals with disabilities have almost none at all.
Clothing designed for those with disabilities falls under the term adaptive fashion. This means that pieces are made with particular attention to details like magnetic closures instead of buttons and concealed zips for more openings that make it easy for people who have difficulty dressing.
Currently, most of the adaptive fashion out there emphasizes functionality rather than fashion or sustainability. So, for a person with disabilities who wants to be well dressed and environmentally conscious, shopping is almost impossible.
As of right now, the biggest name catering to individuals with disabilities is Tommy Hilfiger, which has an adaptive collection available online. Luckily, more companies are beginning to address this massive gap in the marketplace. Here are five brands that are pioneering the sustainably adaptive fashion movement.
Unhidden Clothing. Founded by garment technologist Victoria Jenkins in 2017, Unhidden Clothing aims to bring exclusivity, style, and sustainability to adaptive fashion. Their debut capsule collection includes five womenswear and five menswear garments and is made exclusively from deadstock fabrics.
Jenkins recognizes that 80 percent of people with disabilities are not born with their disabilities, and so to reduce waste she plans on offering an alteration service for customers who want to adjust the clothes they already have.
So Yes. This Belgian brand was founded by former occupational therapists Jessie Provoost and Sofie Ternest. Both women spent years bearing witness to patients with disabilities struggle with their clothing and decided to band together to help address the problem. They offer both a menswear and womenswear collection with pieces that are all sustainably made and designed in-house. The collection features wheelchair trousers and skirts, elasticated trousers, and jackets with magnetic zippers.
I Am Denim. This UK brand, rather than offering a comprehensive line, choose to focus on eco-friendly and accessible jeans for men and women with disabilities. Each pair of jeans has “Ultimate Tummy Control Technology” to offer maximum coverage and support while bending or reaching. They also have a pair of jeans that cater to postpartum women and are suitable for post-surgery, post-pregnancy, resection, c-section, weight gain, scars, and stretch marks.
Friendly Shoes. For adaptive footwear that’s easy to slip on and off, look no further than Friendly Shoes. This brand was founded by another former occupational therapist, Joseph DiFrancisco, who couldn’t believe how many patients were unable to put on their own shoes due to a lack of mindful design. Each pair of shoes is made with their patented “Easy Shoe Access,” so that people who have mobility difficulties can easily slip them on and off.
MIGA Swimwear. Swimwear that we feel comfortable in is notoriously difficult to find, but MIGA Swimwear makes suits that encourage women with disabilities or chronic illnesses to feel confident. There is no need to compromise on sustainability either, as their swimsuits are made from regenerated polyamide yarn.