Dressing oneself as an individual with special needs can be difficult, whether it be issues with certain materials or getting the buttons closed just right. As a remedy, brands like Target and Tommy Hilfiger have begun to offer specialized product lines, also known as adaptive clothing, to take the stress off of morning routines. Moreover, being able to dress themselves gives individuals a sense of autonomy. The creation of adaptive lines offers them that freedom.
Most recently, Kohl’s announced the launch of its sensory-friendly, adaptive clothing line for children. The line has been created through Jumping Beans, Urban Pipeline, and SO Clothing, three of the retailer’s biggest brands. The line’s catchphrase, “Made for you,” emphasizes the company’s commitment to fit the unique needs of children with disabilities. The retailer’s website reads, “We recognize that a little ease goes a long way.”
Certain products in the adaptive line have velcro or magnetic closures rather than buttons or zippers, which can be difficult to navigate. Other items have wider hems, openings for abdominal access, and are diaper-friendly. Some items also bypass tags, seams, and rough materials to cater to children with sensory sensitivity.
The clothing line offers products that are in-style and typical for children. In a statement to USA Today, Associate Product Manager for Jumping Beans, Kara Smoltich, said, “Just because we are creating clothing for unique needs doesn’t mean that it needs to be basic. We have made every effort to ensure that the product looks as close to our core line as possible.” Inclusion is a clear intention of Kohl’s adaptive clothing line. The company itself in the interview that it hopes its adaptive clothing line will inspire confidence in the children who wear it.
Jai Sowerwine, an 8-year-old model with cerebral palsy who modeled for the Kohl’s adaptive clothing launch, told USA Today in an interview that he liked the adaptive clothing line because they make him feel confident. In the same interview, his mother revealed, “The fact that he could open and close it by himself and the smile on his face,” about Sowerwine dressing himself.
Currently, Kohl’s adaptive clothing is only available online. Nevertheless, the line is a step in the right direction by brands for becoming more inclusive of people with disabilities. Hopefully, other major brands understand the importance of adaptive clothing and, in the future, mainstream retailers carry adaptive clothing in-store.