Designing for accessibility is essential to ensure that all users, regardless of their physical, sensory or cognitive abilities, can use and enjoy an everyday product such as fashion.
But why don’t we find more inclusive and accessible clothing in fashion collections?
Here are some common weaknesses of designers:
1. Awareness and education.
To start with, there is a huge lack of knowledge about the accessibility of fashion.
Designers have not received specialised training and there is a lack of awareness of the impact of clothing on people with disabilities and seniors.
Designers must first understand disability in order to solve its challenges.
2. Diversity of needs.
People with disabilities have a wide variety of needs, making it difficult to design garments that are accessible to all.
Some people may have mobility problems, a physical disability, while others may have visual or hearing difficulties, a sensory disability, or intellectual limitations, a cognitive disability.
3. Disability and health.
Traditionally when we talk about people with disabilities, we associate it with health issues. However, it is crucial to understand that disability goes beyond medical issues.
People with disabilities have experiences, love, fall in love, travel, buy fashion, cook and live situations just like other people without disabilities.
4. Fear of doing it wrong.
The large variety of people with disabilities creates insecurity for designers and companies.
This fact, linked to the traditional medical view of disability, makes fashion designers uncomfortable working on accessibility.
They are afraid of getting it wrong with their inclusive collections, which means, losing credibility, damaging their image and brand reputation.
5. How to design inclusive fashion?
The characteristics of inclusive fashion vary according to the type of disability – physical, sensory or cognitive. All aspects of garment design have to be taken into account, from materials, type of pattern, fastenings, labels, colours and prints to seams.
Each group has its own particular preferences and needs.
We must differentiate between inclusive fashion: that which can be worn by the greatest number of people without the need to alter or adjust. And adapted fashion, where adjustments are made for a specific group.
In other words, it is about challenging traditional stereotypes and opening our eyes to innovation, co-design and learning.
Advantages for designers and companies
Fashion and disability used to be seen as opposites. Today, the evolution of inclusive fashion is changing this perception.
Inclusion and diversity have become key values in the fashion industry, and designers are actively working to create garments that are functional, fashionable and accessible to a wide range of people.
Inclusive fashion not only benefits people with disabilities, but also helps to extend the reach of brands and improve the experience for all customers.
How to get started in inclusive fashion design
Here are some solutions to get you started in designing accessible and inclusive collections without the risk of error:
1. Get trained in accessibility and inclusive design with our online courses All Abilities Fashion.
2. Organise product co-design workshops.
We team up your design team and our fashion accessibility experts, always including people with disabilities, to create innovative and disruptive products.
3. Get advice on which parts of your collection are accessible and how you can improve.
Designers apply accessibility unconsciously, they always use it in their collections, but they don’t know where and why. MovingMood helps you to better understand the specific needs and challenges of fashion accessibility.
Designers who are committed to disability, help to promote inclusion, break down barriers and stigmas in fashion and are able to develop innovative solutions that benefit the entire society.
At MovingMood we work with a community of technicians with and without disabilities to offer the best solutions to our clients. We have 23 years of experience in the sector.
Inclusion and diversity have become key values in the fashion industry.
Are you ready to innovate?