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  • Writer's pictureKimberley Schollick

5 mainstream fashion brands tackling adaptive apparel

While the historically homogenous fashion industry has made some great strides in terms of diversity in recent years – by showcasing more POC models, and more body types – representation of disabled people and their needs are still all too often ignored by brands and designers.

 

For people with disabilities who want to serve a look, that can mean either paying for costly alterations or putting up with apparel that’s uncomfortable and not fit for purpose.

 

While several entrepreneurial brands have sprung up to plug this gap in the market, more and more mainstream brands have been delving into the adaptive fashion space. Mainstream adaptive fashion has drawn the ire of some commentators, who see it as a cynical cash grab, but for others, it’s doing the important job of bringing adaptive fashion into the spotlight.

 

Here are five mainstream brands taking on adaptive fashion:

 

Tommy Hilfiger


Six people, including a two people with mobility devices, wearing items from the Tommy Adaptive range.
Source: Tommy Adaptive

Tommy Hilfiger – that bastion of Americana – was possibly the first mainstream brand to take on adaptive fashion, launching Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive back in 2016.

 

The range came to be once Hilfiger himself realised mainstream design practices were not suitable for his own children, who have autism.

 

The range, which caters to men, women and kids, takes Hilfiger’s classic Americana-inspired styling, and adds innovative adaptive features, such as magnetic buttons, Velcro closures and discreet port access.

 

 

Seven7 Adaptive


A blonde woman in a brown jacket, in a wheelchair, wearing Seven7 Adaptive seated jeans
Source: Seven7 Jeans

Seven7 Jeans have been a staple for denim lovers since the 1960s, heralded for their fashion-forward cuts and accessible pricing.

 

In 2019, Seven7 began introducing adaptive styles of its iconic jeans, for both men and women, with features such as comfortable stretch denim, Velcro and magnetic fastenings and open side seams. Their seated styles feature simplified styling at the back, with no pockets and minimal seaming for extra comfort.

 

 

SKIMS


A mid-shot of a woman in a black wheelchair, wearing black SKIMS adaptive bralette and underwear.
Source: SKIMS

SKIMS – yes, that SKIMS – launched a limited adaptive underwear range in 2022.

 

An exercise in inclusivity, the SKIMS adaptive range takes the brand’s well-loved extended size range and colourways, and adds easy-access closures to make the items easier for people with limited mobility to put on and remove.

 

The range includes two bralette styles and three underwear styles, utilising low-profile hook-and-eye closures - rather than the bulkier Velcro, zip or magnetic options – for lighter weight and cleaner lines.

 

 

Victoria’s Secret


Three side by side images - a woman in a wheelchair, a close up of a woman opening the magnetic side closure on some underwear and a woman standing, in her underwear, with an amputated arm.
Source: Victoria's Secret

Prefer something less minimal than SKIMS? Good news – in 2023, Victoria’s Secret also launched an adaptive underwear range, designed in collaboration with people with disabilities.

 

Utilising magnetic closures, sensory-friendly fabric and one-piece construction, the VS adaptive range comes in a range of styles and colours, and even includes an adaptive period panty.

 

 

Nike


An animated GIF showing someone stepping into a pair of Flyease shoes
Source: Nike

Nike entered the adaptive apparel market earlier than most. In 2015, inspired by a letter from then 16-year-old Matthew Walzer who has cerebral palsy, Nike introduced FLYEASE – a new entry system that includes a strap and a zipper that goes around the heel of the shoe.

 

Initially introduced on the Zoom Soldier 8, FLYEASE is now available on a number of Nike styles, including the coveted Jordan 1 and AirForce 1.

 

 

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