“Disability is a matter of perception.”~ Martina Navaratilova
Clothing is one of the most essential requirements of civilised existence. Yet differently-abled individuals and senior citizens, suffering from age-related and mobility issues, often struggle to adjust to conventional clothing. Keeping the community’s distinct clothing needs in mind, a number of brands have globally begun to explore the domain of adaptive clothing. Here are a few labels in India that are taking part in the movement.
6 DOTS by Parul Sachdeva
A student of Pearl Academy Delhi, Parul’s inclination towards working for the visually disabled led her to develop 6 DOTS, a clothing line that keeps the specific needs of those in mind who cannot experience clothing by sight. Combining tactile qualities with specific cuts and tailoring, she has put together design that are both sensible and wearable.
“Earlier, I’d developed tactile surfaces using cord,” she says. “More recently, I have used wrinkle-free fabrics and emphasized on features like (textured) pockets—the pockets are also bigger because the wearers often have to keep their walking sticks inside. I also use the 2×1 method—for example, if there are two pockets in front, there will be one in the back. It saves people time in figuring out which is the front side and which is the back.”
Parul has also designed her most recent capsule in a way that each garment can be effortlessly paired with the other. Additionally, the label also incorporates simple features like Braille tags to enable wearers to know more about their garments.
6 DOTS was showcased at Amazon India Fashion Week earlier this month, and Parul’s designs have also been applauded at incubation and seed support competitions like Amity University’s B-Plan. “I hope to take this brand further,” she says.
To get in touch with Parul, click here.
Cocoon, Old is Gold
Image source: Facebook
Based in Chennai, Old is Gold caters to the needs of the elderly and have also launched what is claimed to be India’s first e-commerce site exclusively or senior citizens. Among a host of products, they have also launched Cocoon a limited range of adaptive clothing for individuals with special needs.
Prioritising on comfort, the label has started with nightwear for women. Traditional nightwear can restrict movement, especially for women who face movement or dexterity issues or need help in wearing their clothes, but a simple open-shouldered design enables them to dress with ease. Available in bright colours and prints, the label also maintains reasonable prices for these products.
Buy Cocoon products on the Old is Gold website.
Move Ability Clothing (MAC)
Image source: Facebook
Based in Kottayam, Murielle and Joe Ikareth are helming a steady movement towards inclusivity and fostering empathy and understanding for people with special needs. “Move Ability is our dream towards achieving acceptance,” says Murielle. Highlighting the community’s need to be seen as more than just disabled, she adds, “We don’t work with the disabled — just people.”
While Murielle leads inclusive movement therapy initiatives, Joe is a fashion designer who uses the Move Ability label to offer garment and accessories for the differently-abled. Murielle stresses that their approach is towards adaptive, moulding clothing according to the specific needs of the wearers.
As a small, independent initiative, Murielle emphasizes on the need for outreach. “It is very difficult to reach out to the community,” she says, recalling a recent incident when she placed an advertisement for an assistant—preferably differently-abled—but received no response.
“I am planning to employ someone local to help me communicate about the project and bring it forward. The next phase is to develop awareness and well-being programs at various levels—education, health centres as well as corporate… In the present context of fear, judgment, hatred, more than ever, each one of us have a duty to spread respect, tolerance and care towards each other.”
The demand for adaptive clothing in India far exceeds supply. It is a situation that these labels and designers are striving to address. It will be a heartening change for the differently-abled community to have greater access to initiatives, which take their needs into consideration and offer practical solutions.