Synonymous with self-expression, fashion continues to evolve to create more opportunities for an individual to reveal personal style preferences and represent oneself in a way that is unique to him or her. Although self-expression sounds like a universal freedom, the opportunity to choose styles unique to oneself proves inaccessible for individuals with disabilities. Of the 73 million children in the United States, one in 20 lives with a disability. Working towards the goal of inclusion and accessibility, Mindy Scheier and Tommy Hilfiger teamed up to create a collection which addresses the needs of children unable to wear popular styles because of their disability.
The founder and visionary of Runway of Dreams, Scheier realized her son’s dreams of wearing a pair of jeans like everybody in his middle school shouldn’t be a dream for
any child — it should be a reality. Scheier passionately searched for a way to grant her son, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, his wish to wear a simple pair of jeans. Since 2013, Scheier’s mission, as stated to Fashionista.com has been “to provide more accessibility to adaptive clothing for those with disabilities.”
Meeting with CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Americas Gary Sheinbaum, Runway of Dreams began its partnership with the multinational apparel corporation. The adapted clothing collection includes 22 pieces for boys and girls, sizes 4-20 and 4-18 respectively. Each style crafted with Velcro or magnet closures, functionality and adjustability is what the collection strives for, providing disabled children with the ability to dress oneself. The collection is not meant to set children with a limb difference or muscle disease apart from their peers, so Hilfiger ensured this universal inclusiveness by matching each design to the corresponding design from the TH Kids Collection, as well economically accessible with costs ranging from $18.50-$42.50.
The collection includes a variety of styles, ranging in color and occasion. A few of the collection’s looks include a boy’s button down, collared shirt with faux buttons to conceal a magnet closure for easy dressing; a baby-blue dress designed with magnet closures along the back; and a variety of jeans ranging from jeggings, skinny and straight-leg styles to address the needs of every demographic. With its wide-ranging success, the label is working two seasons ahead on future children’s fashions.
The Tommy Hilfiger x Runway of Dreams collection not only provides differently-abled children the opportunity to lessen the gap between themselves and their peers, but also addresses the need for the fashion industry to apply modifications on children’s lines, as well as both womenswear and menswear ranges. Scheier told Fashionista.com, “Similar to plus-size departments, our goal is that there’s an adaptive department for every brand and retailer. It’s an enormous department that’s not serviced by the industry. There’s so much opportunity.”
Aside from the stylish fashions modified by simple adjustments to ease difficulties and promote inclusivity and accessibility, opportunity is exactly what the collection provides the public: a chance to express oneself with no hindrances, to be included with no obstacles and to expand the fashion industries with
A version of this article appeared in the March 7 Print Edition of Washington Square News