When we talk about clothes, we immediately think about the fast fashion industry—the glamorous runways, and flawless models in the sleek, chic designs of renowned brands. However, fashion today are moved to celebrate the minority and often goes beyond skin-deep superficiality. It is but a transformative tool that empowers individuals and instils confidence.
Adaptive clothing is one embodiment of fashion that is defining yet functional. It is sensitively designed to accommodate the unique needs of individuals for whom seemingly easy daily activities become a hurdle.
Adaptive fashion is by no means revolutionary, but they do signify the awareness of people’s needs and an effort at considering the conditions of the other. As we glean insights on these clothing, we come to the realisation that we do not need a major overhaul of our closet to be adaptive. Sometimes, a simple alteration is sufficient.
Any caregiver who has experienced dressing a physically-challenged individual acknowledges that it can be very stressful. Instead of the over-the-head method of wearing your conventional tops, which require fine motor skills like hand-eye coordination and shoulder strength, adaptive tops are made with the arms-first approach.
Easy closures at the open back are made with velcro or magnetic closures instead of buttons, therefore, reducing the sensory mobility needed to slot the buttons through the buttonhole. Moreover, some easy wearable designs include an open back or an opening at the shoulder, which makes the dressing process a lot more refined for the wearer.
People with diabetes have sensitive feet and have a higher propensity to suffer various feet conditions due to constricted vessels in their legs. Thus, it is essential to protect their feet by keeping them clean and healthy.
These special socks are tailored with unique features to decrease the risk of any foot infection by keeping the feet dry. It is created with stretchy and non-constricting fabric, and has an extra-wide elasticity to fit swollen feet and reduce tightness, which prevents inhibition to the blood circulation in the feet. Moreover, these socks are armed with moisture-wicking and anti-microbial technology. These features help to keep moisture out of feet and allow the socks to dry very quickly, hence preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi at the foot.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a permanent malformation of the brain, which happens during the child’s early years. Due to the abnormality, the child’s posture, muscle control, and movement are hindered. With different degrees of severity, a child with mild CP can function without substantial aid, whereas a child with a severe condition needs a wheelchair for movement and support to perform simple tasks.
CP child-friendly shoes are specifically designed to support the needs without hindering the child from experiencing a quality life. Some easy-to-wear features include wide openings, velcro or zip closure instead of laces fastening which entails stronger motor skills like finger isolation and hand strength.
Bathing is a challenge and mostly, an embarrassing affair, especially so if you need to strip bare before a caregiver whom you are unfamiliar with. The novel idea of using a rinse-free shampoo cap can be the considerate and appropriate solution.
The pre-moistened fabric-lined cap contains shampoo and conditioner, which serves to clean and soften the hair without getting drenched. The fabric lining absorbs dirt and oil from the hair and scalp. Due to the dry cleaning method, showering can take place anywhere—room or bathroom. Most importantly, hair wash can be done in a dignified manner with limited toilet transfers, which further reduces any risks of falling.
Dressing a wheelchair individual is a two-men team effort between the caregiver and the wearer. First, the caregiver is tasked to provide support and dress the individual. Next, the individual is required to lift off the seat for a couple of seconds until the pants are fitted.
Wheelchair pants are designed to turn this arduous task into a seamless and straightforward activity. The pants come with open back or open side designs with side zippers, magnetic closure, or Velcro fastener to allow easy and efficient seated dressing in a dignified and simplified manner for both the individual and the caregiver.
Breast Cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide. In 2012, the World Cancer Research Fund reported that breast cancer makes up 25% of the cancers amongst women.
In more severe diagnosis of breast cancer, mastectomy—a surgery to remove breast tissues to treat and prevent the spread of cancerous cells—is required. Inevitably, the post-surgery aftermath is traumatising and one that is hard to cope with, one of which being the missing breast. Special bras come with a bra pocket to keep the prosthesis in place. The undergarments are usually underwired free with higher cotton content so that it is gentle on the skin and avoids accidental irritation on surgery scars.
Besides, these intimates are highly adjustable and intended to fit cup sizes that range over three sizes to give a generous amount of adjustable range without attaching an uncomfortable amount of fabric.
Outerwear, too, has adaptively taken its form. Wheelchair blazers are reconstructed to take into account the natural movements and daily enduring posture of a wheelchair individual. For instance, wheelchair blazers are designed with greater allowance at the shoulders to allow a more comfortable range of motion while manoeuvring the wheelchair.
Another feature is its abbreviated length as the individual is seated down most of the time, and therefore, it cuts down on excessive folds and uncomfortable fabric at the waist.
There are specialised brands that are dedicated to producing clothes that are catered to individual needs, for example—Will and Well, Silvert’s, Buck & Buck, and Ovidis. Besides Will and Well, which is a Singapore-based company, the other three also offers international shipping with different rates applied. Other familiar fashion brands have also hopped onto the bandwagon and developed their line of adaptive apparel, like; Nike FlyEase shoes, H&M special bras, and Tommy Hilfiger.
Here’s to a future where inclusivity translates not only to actions but to practical everyday solutions that make the world of a difference to a small but oft-forgotten segment of the community.
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