One in four people in the U.S. lives with a disability. Yet, people with disabilities often struggle to find functional clothing to express themselves as unique individuals.
To spotlight the need for adaptive fashion design and increase disability visibility in the creative sphere, the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) community has partnered with non-profit organization Open Style Lab (OSL) to develop a first-of-its-kind runway show called Double Take. SMA is a progressive neuromuscular disease that can impair walking, dexterity and overall strength, which makes clothing with certain fasteners, cuts, fits and weights inaccessible.
Double Take is the first ever fashion show with start-to-finish SMA community involvement – from conceptualizing the message, to collaborating on clothing designs, to walking and rolling the runway as a prelude to New York Fashion Week — and is dedicated to everyone living with a disability. Through this show, the SMA community is inviting the world to do a double-take, not because of their disabilities but because of their style and individuality, and to see people with disabilities occupying a space that’s often shut off to them.
Leading up to the show, OSL adaptive fashion design fellows, some of whom have disabilities themselves, worked with SMA community members to create and modify garments according to each runway participant’s personal style and needs. The garments feature hidden magnetic closures to create the look of buttons without the challenge of fastening them, stretch knit panels instead of a zippers, flexible sleeves for easier wheelchair operation, and many other adaptations.
Support for Double Take was provided by biotechnology company Genentech’s SMA My Way program, which is an initiative that aims to support all people impacted by SMA by sharing lived experiences and building connections within the community.
ABOUT SPINAL MUSCULAR ATROPHY (SMA)
SMA is a rare, often severe, neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord and the muscles used for vital activities including breathing, eating and walking. SMA does not impact the ability to think, learn and build relationships with others.
Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
ABOUT OPEN STYLE LAB (OSL)
Established in 2014, Open Style Lab (OSL) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to creating functional, wearable solutions for people of all abilities without compromising style. OSL teams designers, engineers and occupational therapists conceive and build accessible wearables that address the needs of and with people with disabilities. Their mission is for all people to have access to style, regardless of ability, through education, research and innovation, corporate collaborations and raising awareness. For more information, please visit https://www.openstylelab.org/.