When I get dressed in the morning, I reach behind my back to clasp my bra. I zip and button my pants. Slip on my shirt. I bend over to pull on my socks. And I lace up my shoes. It’s a routine I do without thinking. However, for someone with a disability, putting on clothes can be a frustrating task that requires assistance.
Getting dressed might not register as the biggest challenge for individuals with disabilities, but Mindy Scheier knows the way that struggling every day with clothing can affect a person's life and self-confidence. Her son, Oliver, was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy that affects his motor skills. "Buttoning his shirt, zipping his pants, putting jeans over his leg braces was a huge challenge for him,” Scheier tells SELF. “He wore sweatpants to school every day. One day, he came home from school and asked if he could wear jeans like his friends.”
Scheier, a fashion designer, modified a pair of jeans for Oliver. She replaced the zipper with Velcro, put in a rubber band to loop around the button, and cut up the side seams to fit over his leg braces. The next day, her son was able to dress himself. "He was able to manipulate them himself, go to the bathroom on his own, and walk into school with his head held high," she says. "He felt really good about himself."
Seeing the impact it had on Oliver's self-esteem, Scheier started to research adaptive clothing, clothing made specifically for those with disabilities or senior citizens, who have trouble navigating buttons, zippers, and closures. “I was truly horrified by what I saw,” she says. “It wasn’t fashionable. It was very medicinal and purposeful. I decided to take my background and try to make a difference in the fashion industry.”
In 2014, Scheier founded Runway of Dreams Foundation, an organization devoted to opening up the world of fashion to those with disabilities. The non-profit donates adaptive clothing to hospitals and schools. It also provides scholarships to fashion students who are dedicating their studies to adaptive clothing, and to design students with disabilities. Scheier's goal is to increase the availability and style of clothing for children and adults with disabilities.
“Even at the age of 8, my son wanted to be able to dress himself. He wanted to not have his mom meet him outside the bathroom to close his pants for him. It was embarrassing,” says Scheier. “Let’s think about a 28-year-old, a 58–year-old, that would have to have that type of help for basic needs.”
Adaptive clothing can also help caregivers dress their families and clients more easily.
Scheier, through the for-profit side of Runway of Dreams, is now working with Tommy Hilfiger to make fashion-forward adaptive clothing a reality. The pieces have magnetic closures and Velcro instead of hard-to-close buttons and zippers, openings at the ankles to help fabric like denim fit over prostheses or leg braces, and alternative ways to get in and out of the garments, like shirts with slits up the side.
“Our goal is to partner with as many brands as we possibly can because we really want to make a change in the industry,” says Scheier. “The world of disabilities knows no age and no socio-economic background. It can affect anybody at any time of their life, and we want to make sure that we are able to really clothe everybody and have brands partner with us in every budget and size.”
Some brands are taking up the cause on their own. In 2015, Nike released a line of shoes, called the FlyEase, that have wide openings to accommodate braces and orthotics, and easy-to-grasp straps, zippers, and Velcro instead of laces for closure.
It's not just the practical side of fashion that interests Scheier, but also the emotional and psychological value of what we wear. “Clothing can define who you are as a person whether you want to dress like everybody else to fit in or if you want to be completely the opposite. It’s a direct correlation to self-confidence and to defining who you are as a person,” she tells SELF.
“This enormous demographic has never been considered by the fashion industry, and that can negatively affect your self-confidence,” she continues. “To open up a magazine and never see somebody even close to looking like you, or to walk in or roll in or crutch into a store and not have anything available for you.”
We often talk about the need for diversity on the runway when it comes to race and body size, but only rarely does that include people of different abilities. As part of the Runway of Dreams Foundation, Scheier is working to create more opportunities for models with prosthetics or wheelchairs or crutches to come down the catwalk.
“I think the fashion industry is missing out on real people,” says Rebekah Marine, a professional model who was born without a right forearm. An ambassador for Runway of Dreams, Marine has a robotic prosthesis; she calls herself the Bionic Model. “I think that the more we start embracing uniqueness and people of different colors and disabilities, the more we can open up a conversation about embracing differences.”
Marine says she can already see the positive effects of increased visibility of differently abled bodies.
“I feel like I’ve dealt with a lot less staring from people, especially kids, because they’ve seen people like me on billboards and TV,” says Marine. “Now they’re being exposed to people that are different from them, and it’s all about educating people. A lot of people associate the word 'disability' with something negative. I treat it as something that is a blessing because I have this ability to teach people about kindness and love and just embracing difference.”Read more at:http://www.mirobridesmaid.co.uk | multiway bridesmaid dress
نوشته شده توسط women fashion blog در چهارشنبه 31 خرداد 1396 و ساعت 15:49