Earlier this year Access Israel hosted a webinar via zoom about inclusive design fashion which included many listeners across the globe.
Access Israel is Israel’s first non-profit organization established in 1999 which advocates inclusivity and awareness for individuals with disabilities. Their mission is to bridge the gap of inequality and dismantle the stigmatization that places individuals with physical disabilities and motor dysfunction in a different category than those of able-bodied individuals.
Palta Clothing is an Israeli enterprise that advocates for disabilities awareness and manufactures inclusive and fashionable design. The company journey to inclusive wear began after the founder Shay Senior injured his right arm wrist during military service.
After speaking to individuals with similar situations, one young woman said to Shay, “I have a feeling that companies are trying to hide me” but I am a proud woman, and I am proud of my physical body and want to showcase it”. For years this young woman could not find the right pants that would fit in her wheelchair and were in trend.
When founding Plata Clothing, Senior’s priority was to hear the community by sending questionnaires to individuals with disabilities and asking what is accessible design and what do we need? It was concluded that in order to create inclusive fashion, brands need to act by creating more adaptive and inclusive clothing. However, it is crucial to distinguish the two as they are both vital for this action.
Adaptive clothing means that the products serve a practical use, one that is comfortable for the specific individual and his or her needs. And inclusive design means that products are designed in a manner that allows fashionable and stylish expression such as designing different color palettes, durable material, and length options.
In a nutshell, more companies need to become aware and adapt to this mindset. Bodies come in different shapes, sizes, and abilities. Fashion is a way of expression and freedom, and this should be catered to all bodies. So how do we as a collective approach this issue and bring change?
3 Ways We Can Bring Change:
Variety, Simplicity, and Meaning
Variety, it is a fact that there are not enough people with disabilities in the fashion industry. Platforms related to fashion such as bloggers, designers, journalists, and influencers need to include individuals with disabilities.
Simplicity, Brands must think side-ways, include different design motives and possibilities that will cater to people with disabilities. How can their product be turned to what is needed and what is functional?
Meaning, Fashion is practical and it gives the feeling of pride. What a person is wearing is what they chose, from colors, to comfort, it is what helps them fit in their environment.
The Next Steps Towards Inclusive Fashion
The word access has more presence in our world today. People are starting to ask what is more right to say and today’s modern environment is understanding and becoming aware of it. A big part of this influence is the internet and social media.
Awareness and Visibility
The goal is to expand awareness and visibility by bringing accessibility to everyday vocabulary and use. The fashion world is a stepping stone to opening doors everywhere. An accessible garment that is both functional and fashionable, will serve as a domino effect by creating every single place more accessible.
Trust needs to come from brands and companies and their responsibilities in staying active in what they promise. In addition, the change will not happen unless a spark initiates it. The community of customers needs to be vocal about their issues, otherwise they will not be heard. Feedback and advice about the brands’ products are what will change the narrative. If we all come together and be vocal, we can bring change to the fashion world and everywhere following.
# inclusive design fashion