NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WPRI) — Most people take getting dressed each day for granted, but for the millions of children with special needs, finding clothes that they can put on and take off themselves can be a challenge.
Tommy Hilfiger launched a special collection Tuesday, addressing the challenges of the differently-abled community.
The designer partnered with Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit organization that works with the fashion industry to adapt main stream clothing lines.
Runway of Dreams founder Mindy Scheier, a designer herself, said she started the organization because of her son Oliver, who has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and wears leg braces to walk safely. He wanted to wear jeans, but Scheier knew that pants with a zipper and button would present challenges for her son.
“I knew jeans wouldn’t fit over the braces and because of his muscle weakness he wouldn’t be able to button them and go to the bathroom by himself. I had a choice that day to crush his self-confidence and tell him he couldn’t wear jeans like his friends, or figure out a way to make it work,” Scheier said. “I made it work. I stayed up late and altered the legs to accommodate the braces, then went to his school during my lunch hour the next day to help him use the bathroom. After the lengths it took to put my son in jeans for one day, I knew change had to happen.”
The Hilfiger collection has pieces from the company’s mainstream spring collection, but with a few key changes.
Instead of buttons and snaps, the designer used MagnaReady magnet closures. All pant legs, sleeve lengths, and waistbands are adjustable. And for clothing that would normally be pulled over the head, they now have MagnaReady closures in back.
“After speaking with a wide range of people and learning about their specific needs, I found three commonalities that would make their lives easier: modified closures, adjustability and alternate options to get in and out of the garments,” Scheier said.
According to the Tommy Hilfiger website, all of the Runway of Dreams pieces are the same price as the mainstream kids collection.