The fashion industry should be more inclusive of the disabled

By Olivia Weber, Correspondent
On July 11, 2018

 

According to the Pew Research Center, 12.6 percent of Americans have a disability. Those with disabilities often have a hard time finding clothes that meet their specific needs.

Although many Americans do not consider this while shopping, the lack of clothing options for the disabled is a major issue that must be addressed.

Finally, fashion brands are recognizing this injustice and working to provide more options.

The apparel brand ASOS launched a new jumpsuit that is not only fashionable, but is also designed to be wheelchair accessible. ASOS partnered with paralympic hopeful, Chloe Ball- Hopkins, to design the Tie-Dye All-in-One Jumpsuit.

This is the logical next step toward a more inclusive and diverse fashion industry.

Of the 12.6 percent of Americans with disabilities, around a third are under the age of 65, limiting them to few, if any, in-style clothing options.

This statistic shows that there is a market gap in the fashion industry for clothes that fit the needs of the disabled.

ASOS designed the jumpsuit so it may not only fit the needs of those with disabilities but also can be worn by anyone. Many major fashion brands should follow ASOS’ lead to make its lines more inclusive.

Along with giving those with disabilities more fashion options, the stigma around disabilities needs to change as well.

Fashion is a way to express yourself, and many people with disabilities often do not get this opportunity. Just because someone is disabled does not mean that they do not care about fashion.

This idea is becoming more clear to the fashion industry. During the 2017 New York Fashion Week, FTL Moda featured models with disabilities on their runway.

However, many pieces in runway shows are still unwearable to those with disabilities. So as a whole, the industry must start creating more pieces for anyone to wear.

Tommy Hilfiger joined with the non-profit Runway of Dreams to make an adaptive- clothing line. By creating this line, Tommy Hilfiger became the first American designer to make an adaptive collection for children.

Walmart has also created clothes that fit the needs of the disabled. They now sell jeans for men that have a seated body type. The jeans were made higher in the back with a softer and more flexible material.

Target also created a line entirely designed by a mom with a disabled daughter. The line includes various items for children with disabilities.

The time is now for other large-scale department stores to follow suit and make shopping an easy venture for those with disabilities.

Olivia Weber is a junior majoring in mass communication.

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