Fashion powerhouse Tommy Hilfiger has joined forces with an inspirational mum to create a clothing line for children with disabilities. The range has been modified to allow children with varying disabilities the opportunity to wear the same outfits as their friends, and independently dress themselves.
Mum of three Mindy Scheier was initially prompted to create her own organisation, Runway of Dreams in the hope of getting mainstream fashion houses to adapt their clothing for children with disabilities.
She explains: “My son Oliver was born with muscular dystrophy, a disease that causes weakness and loss of muscle mass. Oliver is required to wear leg braces to walk safely and has muscles too weak to handle tasks we all take for granted, such as fastening and unfastening buttons and zippers.”
Mindy says as her son got older, he wanted to dress like his friends: ” (he) asked me one day if he could wear jeans instead of the sweatpants he usually wore for ease over his leg braces. I was faced with a difficult and heartbreaking decision as his mother: Do I send my son to school in jeans, knowing his leg brace would not fit underneath and that going to the bathroom alone would not be possible? Or do I tell him he can’t wear what the other kids are wearing because of his disability? Feeling that neither option was fair, I decided to go a different route and find a better solution.”
That solution was to create Runway of Dreams in 2013, which she used to champion her cause – to make fashion accessible to all. She used her expertise and background in fashion design to transform clothing, swapping difficult buttons and zippers for magnets and elastics.
“As I met other parents, children and adults facing the same and often harder challenges, I saw the very real lack of available options—and how adaptive clothes could have a profound impact on people’s lives,” Mindy tells Motto.
And her hard work has finally paid off. American fashion royalty Tommy Hilfiger has just released a collaboration with Runway of Dreams – a modified clothing collection for children, which includes 22 pieces for boys and girls. The clothing costs the same as the brand’s regular line.
According to Fashionista, the Tommy Hilfiger customer service teams has been briefed on the new range, and even the correct language to use when speaking about the clothing’s consumer base. And it’s understood that future children’s collections are also in the works.
Mindy says she’s hoping to find other partners at different price points to collaborate with. “Tommy Hilfiger is the first of what I believe will be many brands to do this. It’s time for the industry to come together to make change happen—to see this consumer market as an exciting chance to engage new shoppers, but more importantly, to make an impact.”
Tommy Hilfiger isn’t the first big name to consider kids with disabilities. Last month Lego revealed it was adding a wheelchair minifig to its collection and Target won praise recently for including a child with crutches and leg braces in its toy catalogue.
(Images courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger)