Fashion that wants to improve quality of life
People with disabilities shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort or fashion. That is the driving principle behind the concept of adaptive clothing, which has caught the attention of designers who are invested in creating functional apparel that helps improve the quality of life of the wearer.
A few designers at the forefront of adaptive clothing were discussed in a recent article by Retail Analyst Deborah Weinswig on Forbes.
Designer Camila Chiriboga from ve° created a collection for the visually impaired in which buttons are configured in a particular way and different fabric textures are used to signal to the wearer what an article of clothing looks like.
Maureen Horton, founder of MagnaReady, designs dress shirts with magnetic closures to help those with motor difficulties. Li & Fung has licensed the technology.
FFORA, founded by creative director Lucy Jones, has created a line of luxury handbags and accessories specifically designed for those dependent on wheelchairs.
Such combinations of fashion and function could become more important with an aging population that is still highly social and active, but also more prone to semi-debilitating ailments, conditions or injuries.
Adaptive clothing geared toward people with special needs isn’t the only space where designers are attempting to make clothing that’s both fashionable and next-gen functional.
At South By Southwest (SXSW) in 2017, for example, Levi and Google debuted a “smart jean jacket” retailing at $350. The jacket, woven through with electronic “smart fibers,” allows bike commuters to answer phone calls and get directions through their headphones by tapping their sleeves.
And last year Home Depot began piloting an exosuit, enhanced by carbon rods, which would allow employees to more easily lift heavy objects without risking muscle strain.
While the adaptive clothing designers detailed by Ms. Weinswig are using less “wired” technologies to address the needs of their customer base, it’s easy to imagine more high-tech enhancements like “smart fibers” also being used creatively in adaptive clothing.
- Adaptive Clothing Designers Are Innovating Like Amazon By Putting The Customer First – Forbes
- Will Google/Levi’s smart jacket finally make wearables fashionable? – RetailWire
- Is the exosuit the breakthrough the wearables market has been waiting for? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see mainstream fashion brands and retailers moving into the adaptive clothing market? How might the aging population drive this trend? Where do you see the most obvious opportunities?