We are fully into the swing of summer, and this July we’re celebrating Disability Pride Month! The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law on July 26, 1990, and July was declared Disability Pride month to amplify the voices of Americans with disabilities and raise awareness of some difficulties they might face.
Here at Boutique by the Box, we’re highlighting some awesome adaptive clothing brands that you should keep an eye out for!
What is Adaptive Clothing?
Adaptive clothing is designed for people with disabilities who have different needs when it comes to dressing and going about their day.
Some examples of adaptive clothing include using hidden magnets instead of buttons or zippers that might be difficult to manipulate, Velcro instead of ties or laces, or flat seams that are more comfortable for someone who sits in a wheelchair.
These small design changes can make a big difference in someone’s life!
1) Care + Wear
Founded in 2014, Care + Wear designs clothing that is both functional and fashionable. The brand began with clothing designed specifically for cancer patients, but is now known as a leading provider of functional, high-quality adaptive clothing that gives the wearer both comfort and style.
Care + Wear has popularized the use of the term “healthwear”, which means medically accessible apparel and accessories that have been expertly developed with the highest standards of design, comfort and performance. The company takes a three-tiered approach when developing products, working with patients, medical professionals, and designers to create clothing that patients want to wear and are medically superior.
According to the company’s website, “While we started the company to help loved ones fighting cancer, our ultimate goal is to help each and every person get back to feeling like themselves.”
2) Slick Chicks
Slick Chicks is a new company designing accessible underwear for diverse bodies. That’s right -- underwear is an often overlooked part of the adaptive fashion world, but it’s the foundation of getting dressed every day.
People with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and more can face difficulties with putting underwear on one leg after another. Bras can be a huge challenge when your mobility is limited. At Slick Chicks, they’ve created undies with side fasteners so that it’s easy to put on your intimates whether you’re sitting, lying down, or standing.
Not only this, but Slick Chicks takes it one step further to ensure their company is inclusive all the way to its foundations. They are partnered with MAS Holdings, a manufacturer that works to include persons with disabilities in a number of roles in their company. They have used research to identify jobs that can be done safely and comfortably by people with a wide variety of impairments.
3) IZ Adaptive
IZ Adaptive is a Canadian brand from fashion designer Izzy Camilleri. IZ creates clothing for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility around the world.
Created to make wheelchair users look and feel their best, IZ Adaptive’s clothing line has a signature cut for a seated body. This allows wheelchair users to get the right fit as they stay in their chair throughout the day. The adaptive clothing also feels more comfortable than mainstream designs and styles, which can be uncomfortable for long periods of time spent seated.
The clothing is also specially designed not to interfere with wheelchair functionality -- no accidental snags or tangles! Safety comes first, but IZ Adaptive doesn’t sacrifice style for their pieces.
MIGA Swimwear provides swimsuits for women that have disfigurement, chronic illnesses, and disabilities.
CEO and founder María Luisa Mendiola raised over $10,000 in 2018 to launch her brand’s first collection, made specifically for burn survivors. Since then, MIGA has released more adaptive swimsuit styles for people living with a wide variety of conditions and impairments.
Subsequent designs were created with input from members of the MIGA community. Using stories and feedback from women of all backgrounds and abilities, the company has created designs that are functional, fashionable, and comfortable.
The company is also committed to sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices. Swimsuits are designed using recycled materials and striving for zero waste, while all the pieces are made locally in Los Angeles to ensure that the workers are treated fairly under USA worker protection laws.
Although Tommy Hilfiger could hardly be considered a small or “unknown” brand, we wanted to include Tommy Adaptive in this list to show that larger fashion brands can (and should!) include people with disabilities when they design their products.
Tommy Hilfiger launched their adaptive line in 2015, and was the first major brand to release an adaptive clothing brand. Tommy Adaptive shows that disability-friendly clothing can be comfortable and effective, while still being cool and stylish.