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Check out Tommy Hilfiger's clothing line for kids with disabilities.

This adaptive clothing line is an awesome step in the right direction.

Check out Tommy Hilfiger's clothing line for kids with disabilities.

Tommy Hilfiger just made news by announcing a new line of adaptive kids’ clothing for the spring.

“What the heck is adaptive clothing?” you might be asking. Precisely. The term sounds foreign because no large companies have sold that type of clothing ... until now.

People with disabilities don’t fit into clothing the same way able-bodied people do. They can’t button and zip the same way. They can’t wiggle into (or out of) clothing like others can.


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GIF via "Seinfeld."

Mindy Scheier is a fashion designer who understands that struggle. So she decided to do something about it.

Her son, Oliver, has a rare type of muscular dystrophy. When he was 8, he started caring more about what he wore and whether it looked like his friends’ clothes. Zippers and buttons presented a problem for him, and his leg braces limited his options.

Mindy and Oliver. Photo via Runway of Dreams, used with permission

There are a few specialized adaptive clothing companies, such as Buck & Buck and Izzy Camilleri, but Oliver wanted to wear normal jeans like the rest of the kids he knew.

His mom saw a problem and realized she was in the perfect position to find a solution. She founded Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making fashion accessible to people of all abilities. And her hard work has started paying off.

Mindy persuaded Tommy Hilfiger to team up with Runway of Dreams, and their accessible clothing collection is now available for order.

The accessible clothes feature magnets in place of zippers and buttons, pants with adjustable hems and openings for leg braces, and shirts that can magnet closed in the back, which is awesome for caregivers of children with special needs.

Oliver even got to take part in the photo shoot for the new line. Photo by Richard Corman, used with permission.

“Clothing can empower,” Scheier said in a press release. “Clothing can create confidence, clothing can make a difference.” Amen, Mindy.

This is a huge flipping deal, folks.

I have a disability myself, and my hands don’t work so well. I remember getting a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans in high school. I was crazy excited to be wearing the same jeans the cool kids wore because I usually had to wear baggy pants with elastic waistbands.

Exhibit A. Photo by Sarah Kovac, used with permission.

Shockingly, I got picked on for my frumpy off-brand clothing on more than one occasion. That's why I loved my new Hilfiger jeans so much. I was so proud to wear them, but the button made them very difficult for me to get on and off. I had to have my mom button them for me in the morning, so I had wait to use the bathroom until I got home from school. I just didn’t drink any fluids all day.

When a young person (or any person) is forced to choose between wearing clothes that she likes and using the restroom at some point during the seven-hour school day, something needs to change.

sistersmovie  movie amy poehler tina fey sisters

GIF via "Sisters."

For a person with a physical disability, getting dressed can be super difficult. Finding clothes you can wear AND like is nearly impossible.

As you can imagine, for a child just learning to assert their independence and sense of style, these fashion limitations are embarrassing and frustrating. Kids with disabilities already feel different enough without having to wear awkwardly fitting clothes.

I’m so stoked about what Runway of Dreams is doing, and that Tommy Hilfiger stepped up to give kids with disabilities the chance to feel good in clothes that actually work for them.

Let’s hope this is just the beginning for accessible clothing and that other clothing brands see that people of all abilities like to wear nice things.

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