Fashion Solves Problems for Differently-Abled


Think about getting dressed in the morning for work or school. For those people who are fully physically functional, it’s easy.  But, for those people with some level of physical disability, even simple day-to-day tasks such as buttoning a shirt can cause distress.

To help solve these problems, several companies have started what is called “healthwear” by using techniques in fashion to apply to clothing for those who need a little extra assistance. For example, company MagnaReady produces shirts with magnets instead of buttons. Students at the Parsons School of Design have also taken on the tasks of designing clothes for wheelchair users, cancer patients, and even displaced refugees. For refugees, clothing can be transformed into tents and more to help them get through the days and nights.

Also part of this movement is Runway of Dreams, a non-profit organization working with the fashion industry to adapt clothing for those who are differently-abled. And, in 2014, M.I.T. established its Open Style Lab – a program that combines engineering, design, and occupational-therapy disciplines to come up with adaptive clothing technologies.

Before you think this doesn’t apply to your life, consider that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of five adults in the U.S. have, or are at risk of having, a disability at some point in our lives.

What are you wearing today?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has friends or family members with a physical disability? What are the problems?
  2. Show CNN video about MagnaReady:
  3. Watch a video of fashion show with disabled children and solutions to clothing problems:
  4. Visit Runway of Dream:
  5. View Web sites of companies that design for those who have difficulties:
  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team examine the Web site of a different company and put together a marketing plan to expand its reach.

Source: New York Times    


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