Adaptable clothing is a turning point for people with a disability, but what does it mean?


Have you ever tried to button a zipper or shirt with one hand? Put on jeans while sitting? Do you know someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder who can’t stand the feeling of certain substances on their skin? If your feet are different sizes or you only have one foot, how do you buy shoes?

Advances in “adaptive clothing” are designed to address these issues.

Adaptable clothing is specially designed for people with a disability. This can mean making available One-hand zippers on shoes, Replace buttons with Magnetic closures or designing clothes and shoes so you can dress while you are a sitting position.

The key to effective, adaptable clothing is meeting the diverse needs of different consumers while maintaining style and fashion. Recently, fashion brands have started offering trendy clothes with new styles that combine fashion and technology for people with a variety of disabilities.

Here are five different ways to approach fashion with adaptive clothing.

1. Magnets, not buttons

Under armor were one of the first to introduce magnetic zippers in clothing. Their redesigned jacket zipper called MagZip uses magnets to connect the ends of the zipper, making clothes easier to close with one hand.

Instead of buttons, magnets were also used in shirts, pants, and other clothing. These enable individuals who do not have the skill or ability to use buttons to dress better.

2. Shoes without laces

Different versions of shoes are also aimed at simplifying the process of lacing or eliminating the need for it altogether. Zippers can replace traditional shoelacesso that the shoes can be laced with one hand.

Another design is that of Nike Go FlyEase, a sneaker with a hinge design. The wearer enters the shoe and the hinge opens, holding the shoe in place.

The first FlyEase shoes proved popular with a wider audience, Create delivery problems and a large resale market. This shoe is an example of Universal design – a principle that proposes products should be designed so that everyone can use them.

3. Clothing for the wearer

Lots of people with autism are sensitive on certain fabrics or on labels and clothing labels.

Adaptive brands like JAM the label, Screen printed labels, avoid physical labels and offer a range of hyposensitive bamboo and linen fabrics.

Baby rompers and traditional swim trunks that cover the stomach are not always practical for everyone. Your design may be limiting for people receiving tube feeding or using ostomy bags.

Among other things, Australian manufacturer of adaptive clothing Wonsie sells gastric access garments for children and adults who often need gastric access, which means medical devices need not be a hindrance to fashion.

4. 3D printing and custom orders

In the past, adaptive products were often designed inconspicuously, such as black wheelchairs or skin-colored prostheses and hearing aids. But that is also changing.

3D printing and advanced manufacturing allow great flexibility and individual designs of various devices and fashion items.

Open Bionics used 3D printing to create the Hero arm, a bionic arm powered by muscle movements. By using 3D printing to customize the arm to fit the user, the company can also offer users design options that range from colors to branded content: a mix of function and fashion.

5. Unique sales platforms

The technology behind adaptive fashion is not limited to product design, but is also used in sales and marketing.

Every human’s unpaired system enables consumers to purchase individual shoes while searching for size, width and a range of adaptive features such as:

This can benefit people with differently sized or shaped feet or with prostheses for which traditional shoes are not suitable.

While it seems like a relatively simple idea, it does require brands to have more sophisticated ordering systems in place. Products need to be listed individually, rather than in traditional pairs, and tagged with additional features such as the left or right shoe and the adaptive features of each side so that consumers can search for their needs.

Adaptation beyond technology

Like many consumers, people with disabilities simply want to go to physical stores or online stores and find clothes that they like and that fit. While technology is helping retailers offer a growing range of adaptable clothing, it is not the only solution.

The next step is to think not only about the clothes themselves, but also about the wearer and how they want to shop.

All fashion brands should adapt their items to meet the diverse needs of consumers: the technology is already there.


Louise Grimmer, Lecturer in Retail Marketing, University of Tasmania; Gary Mortimer, Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behavior, Queensland University of Technology; Jason Pallant, Lecturer for Marketing, Swinburne Technical University, and Jessica Pallant, Lecturer in Marketing, Swinburne Technical University

This article was republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.


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