Although there are many companies that sell adaptive apparel for children, their offerings often prioritize functionality at the expense of fashion. However, a few clothing companies have recently launched lines specifically for children with disabilities and designed with trends in mind:
*Please note that we have no affiliation with any of these companies*
Tommy Hilfiger’s Adaptive Clothing Line
Mindy Scheier, a fashion designer and mother of a child with muscular dystrophy, recalls feeling frustrated when her son wanted to wear jeans to school like his friends, and she couldn’t find a pair that met his needs without sacrificing style. In response, she founded the Runway of Dreams Foundation (RODF), a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities obtain adaptive clothing and promotes inclusion in the fashion industry (1).
In 2016, Scheier collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger on a line of adaptive clothing for children (they’ve since expanded the line to include adults). The items include modifications to make putting on and taking off clothing easier, such as magnet closures, velcro, one-handed zippers, and side seam openings. They also have adjustable hems to accommodate orthotics and braces. All of the clothes are designed to look similar to other pieces by Tommy Hilfiger, for example by including faux buttons (2). You can shop the line here: https://usa.tommy.com/en/tommy-adaptive
Target’s Adaptive Clothing Line
Like Scheier, Stacey Monsen struggled to find clothing for her child. Monsen’s daughter has motor impairments, and needs clothes that can fit over a diaper. In an email to Today Parents, she noted that most of the clothing designed to accommodate diapers is made for toddlers and babies – not an eight year old. “For pants or shorts, I either either size way up, or buy pieces that are all function and no style which are easy for her to pull on or off,” she wrote. “Elinor is just one child of the many, many children who would benefit from adaptive clothing.”
Monsen worked to design a line for Target, called the Cat & Jack Collection, specifically for children with physical disabilities and sensory-processing issues. The items are easy to take on and off, accommodate diapers, and are wheelchair-friendly. Some of the pieces even feature hidden openings to allow for abdominal feeding tube insertion. Moreover, she avoided tags, prominent seams, and scratchy materials, all of which may irritate children with hypersensitivity (3).
You can browse Target’s offerings here: https://www.target.com/c/cat-jack/-/N-4uai4
Zappos’ Adaptive Clothing and Footwear Lines
The popular online company Zappos offers both adaptive clothing and footwear for children. Their director, Saul Dave, told Disability Scoop why he decided to launch this line:
“Zappos Adaptive started with a single phone call from a customer looking to exchange a pair of shoes for her grandson who was unable to tie his own laces. My disappointment in not being able to replace the shoes inspired me to start this initiative.”
The clothing items are reversible, soft, and without tags, buttons, or zippers. They also sell shoes that can easily be slipped on and off and orthotic-friendly footwear.
Dave stressed that he planned on continuing to expand the line, noting that “Through our research we discovered there is a huge underserved community needing clothing that is both functional and fashionable” (4).
Indeed, they are now collaborating with PBS KIDS to create a collection “that’s playful and stylish while keeping things easy.” The website says more details are coming soon, but from teaser photos it appears to feature tees and sweatpants with fun graphics of animals and air travel. They also note that the clothes can be worn frontward or backward, “So no matter how they put it on, it’s right!” This could help children achieve greater independence in dressing (5).
You can check out all of Zappos’ adaptive products here: https://www.zappos.com/e/adaptive
Do you have any favorite adaptive clothing collections or companies? Please comment below!
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The HIE Help Center is run by ABC Law Centers, a medical malpractice firm exclusively handling cases involving HIE and other birth injuries. Our lawyers have over 100 years of combined experience with this type of law, and have been advocating for children with HIE and related disabilities since the firm’s inception in 1997.
We are passionate about helping families obtain the compensation necessary to cover their extensive medical bills, loss of wages (if one or both parents have to miss work in order to care for their child), assistive technology, and other necessities.
If you suspect your child’s HIE may have been caused by medical negligence, please contact us today to learn more about pursuing a case. We provide free legal consultations, during which we will inform you of your legal options and answer any questions you have. Moreover, you would pay nothing throughout the entire legal process unless we obtain a favorable settlement.
You are also welcome to reach out to us with inquiries that are not related to malpractice. We cannot provide individualized medical advice, but we’re happy to track down informational resources for you.
- Runway of Dreams: About
- Disability Scoop: Tommy Hilfiger Debuts Adaptive Clothing Line
- Today: Target’s new line for kids with special needs was designed by a mom who gets it
- Disability Scoop: Zappos, PBS Launching Apparel For Children With Special Needs
- Zappos: Collaboration with PBS Kids