Fashion industry adapting for those with special needs

Posted at 11:42 PM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 23:42:48-04
Clothing available for people with disabilities is limited and not always fashion forward.  The fashion industry is taking notice, designing modernized 'adaptive apparel' that addresses the physical difficulties some people face.
Like most teenage boys, Justin Moy admits he isn't much into fashion.  
"Sometimes I don't even know the color of clothing I'm wearing," he said.
But realizing there was a need to be comfortable and still follow the latest trends, Justin worked with fashion designers to help create adaptive apparel, clothes designed for those with special needs.
"I think it is important to show that even people with disabilities can wear a fashionable clothing style," Justin said. "And really that shows how equal people with disabilities can be to other people."
Justin has a severe form of Scoliosis, which forces him to sit in a wheelchair.  He has limited arm movement and he said that makes putting on standard clothing difficult.
"It's not as easy to manipulate, and therefore gives less independence to people like me," he said.
Grace Jun, educational director at the Open Style Lab at MIT said that's all changing.  
"We try to raise awareness about inclusive design, and that disability is not just seen as a personal health condition, but it's part of the natural human experience," she said.
The design program teams designers, engineers and occupational therapists to develop wearable solutions for people with varying disabilities.  
The Open Style Lab doesn't sell clothes to the public, however, mainstream designers are taking notice of this need in the marketplace.
Tommy Hilfiger has a line of adaptive wear for kids.  There's also a company called "Abl Denim" which makes jeans for people with limited mobility.  
Adaptive clothing uses materials like Velcro and magnetic closures, and can include sleeves and pants with adjustable lengths to make putting on clothes easier.
It's a trend Justin said he's happy to see.  
"I feel like it's important to be independent because it means you can rely on yourself," he said.

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