cur  able

DISABILITY FASHION CONSULTANCY

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We See you Shifting Culture Tommy.com

Tonight Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya took the fashion industry to school with the premiere of Tommy X Zendaya Adaptive during New York Fashion Week. The 70’s inspired looks designed for customers with standing body types and customers with seated body types exude power. Also, both collections are available for pre-order online at Tommy Hilfiger. As far as I know, this is a first! The screengrab below of Tommyhilfilger.com is also a monumental first. . Tommy X Zendaya, Curve, and Tommy Adaptive are all on Tommy Hilfiger women’s homepage! I’ll give you a minute to let the significance of this image sink in. If you’re a designer and you’ve been wondering how to design and market adaptive clothing, this is how you do it.

Photo Credit: tommy.com

The Tommy X Zendaya show was held at the historic Apollo Theater. Models with disabilities like Lauren “Lolo” Spencer, Jillian Mercado, Aaron Phillips, and Mama Cax were on the front row rocking looks from Tommy X Zendaya Adaptive, sitting alongside guests wearing Tommy X Zendaya. It was so beautiful, one room, one collection, one celebration of fashion, style, and culture; to me; this is equity. The Zendaya Adaptive capsule collection (I love the sound of that) has nine pieces. My favorites are the houndstooth suit sold as separates. The blazer has magnetic closures; the monogram pants have both VELCRO® a brand closure and magnetic closure. There is also a matching metallic gold turtleneck with a hidden zipper on one side of the neck. I’m also a fan of the houndstooth trench coat that doubles as a dress for seated and standing body types. Tonight’s fashion show may be Zendaya’s last collection with Tommy Hilfiger, but for me, it’s the show responsible for so many phenomenal firsts in bridging the gap between the fashion industry and fashion customers with disabilities.

Photo Credit: tommy.com

In October 2011, I wrote an article for Abledbody.com entitled Inclusive Designs: Could the Answer be in a Capsule? Derek Lam’s collaboration with Ebay inspired this article. It was Ebay’s first crowdsourced capsule collection. At the time Washington Post reporter Katherine Boyle quotes Lam, “It’s a chance to expand the brand and reach an audience that may not be as familiar with the brand.” That’s when it hit me, a pre-sold capsule collection is a feasible solution for connecting risk adverse designers with fashion customers with disabilities. So, in this master class, Zendaya Adaptive acts as a case study of the viability of the pre-sold capsule collection.
Some people may have a problem with the fact that there were no models with visible disabilities in the show, but I don’t have a problem with that. If given a choice between a model with a disability on the runway as a prop and a model with a disability in the audience actually wearing pieces from the designer collection being shown on the runway, I’d rather see the models in the audience.

Photo Credit: tommy.com
  • Tonight provided even more proof that the future of adaptive clothing is universal. There are exceptions, designing for people with seated and horizontal body types.
  • Pre-sold capsule collections are a viable solution for bridging the gap between fashion customers with disabilities and the industry. The Tommy X Zendaya Adaptive collection is fire!! It’s strong and beautiful, perfect for work, play, and most importantly it looks like the Tommy X Zendaya collection.
  • Approach marketing and visual merchandising for designer and designer adaptive collections the same way
  • Present one fashion show! Invite guests with and without disabilities. Just say no to separate shows.
  • The fashion industry, like the world, is much better together.

Photo Credits Including Feature Shot: tommyadaptive.com

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  1. jannika says:

    Tommy seated fit jeans — what a game changer! I LOVE Tommy Adaptive!!! Thanks Stephanie, for getting out the message. Ever single person with a new disability should know about this clothing line. It’s great that getting dressed and undressed is so much easier, but even better to look in the mirror and be overjoyed rather than humiliated.

    Now — if someone can convince Tommy Adaptive that women who ride wheelchairs enjoy wearing colors other than just blue. PLEASE Tommy, don’t let me go to my grave never having worn any other color in my entire post-injury life. Pink, khaki, tangerine, faded black — anything, PLEASE!!! Even a wild print of dancing lizards, butterflies wearing stilettos, and chartreuse dandelions would break up the monotony of the blue I’ve worn every single day since Tommy Adaptive started making women’s SEATED FIT pants. I keep begging and writing the company, and I know one day Tommy Adaptive will make me as happy as the day I first discovered how good their BLUE (ugh) seated fit pants make me look. Stephanie — do you have any influence with them?

    Thanks -j

    • cur8able says:

      Hi Jannika,

      Thanks so much for stopping by the new site. First I apologize I’m still beta testing the site. It officially launches on June 9th. Yes, I’m a fan of Tommy Adaptive, I know it’s not everyone’s aesthetic, but I think it’s a great example for other brands that may be interested in adaptive options. I agree that people need to know about this which is why I’ve pivoted the site to add shopping alongside the blog.

      With regards to making suggestions, as a wheelchair user who purchases Tommy Adaptive you have more power than I do, you are a customer. Write them to share with them what you’ve shared with me. I’m sure they’d appreciate the honest feedback. If anyone from Tommy Adaptive ever asks me, I’ll share my thoughts and comments as well. Keep in mind, Tommy Adaptive is going to be consistent with Tommy’s brand aesthetic.

      Thanks for stopping by, please don’t be a stranger.

  2. Rakshith says:

    Hey , your content is amazing. By the way even I have a versatile blog, make sure you visit and follow us. All the best!!!

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