Ideally, we all want clothing that is both fashionable and functional. Functionality is all the more important for people with disabilities, who may face challenges getting dressed or may need to work around equipment like wheelchairs or braces.
But people with disabilities, like everyone else, also want to look good. American design darling Tommy Hilfiger has become one of the first brand name designers to make clothing specifically with these customers in mind, launching an adaptive line for children last year, and following up with an adult line that was just released.
Hilfiger’s adaptive garments include features like zippers that can be closed and opened with one hand, adjustable hems and plackets to accommodate assistive equipment, magnetic buttons, and adjustable enclosures.
These features are incorporated into the design so that the garments still look fashionable, and make dressing easier for people with disabilities or their caretakers.
These garments stay true to the signature, all-American aesthetic of the Hilfiger brand, heavy on stripes, denim, and red, white, and navy. The collection includes shirts, dresses, jackets, pants, and more.
Besides providing adaptive clothing, Tommy Hilfiger has also created an opportunity to feature models with disabilities, a sorely underrepresented demographic in the fashion industry. Their website shows adults and kids with prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs.
Rebekah Marine, one of the models for the adaptive line who was born without one forearm, raved about the line to USA Today. “One of my favorite pieces is the denim jacket,” she said, “The jacket is equipped with magnetic closures in the front and on the cuffs, making a big difference in the way I style my outfit. I no longer have to meticulously go through each button one-handed or pester my fiancé to help me fix the cuffs.”
Last year Hilfiger created an adaptive line for kids in collaboration with MagnaReady, a company that makes magnetic fasteners, and Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit that works to make clothing for people with disabilities.
After the “incredible response to the children’s collection,” Hilfiger created 34 garments for women and 37 for men.
Hilfiger says that “Inclusivity and democratization of fashion have always been at the core of my brand’s DNA” and hopes that his adaptive line with have the effect of “empowering the differently abled community.”