In partnership with a New Jersey nonprofit, Tommy Hilfiger is introducing an adaptive version of his clothing for children so that those with disabilities will be able to wear the exact same styles the designer created for other kids, and dress themselves, perhaps for the first time.
The arrangement with New York City-based Tommy Hilfiger and Global Brands Group Holding Limited, which handles its licensed children’s apparel, came about via fashion designer Mindy Scheier, the founder of the nonprofit Runway of Dreams, who started her organization after her son Oliver was born with a form of muscular dystrophy.
“He wanted to wear jeans to school, and I knew he wouldn’t be able to wear his leg braces and be able to go to the bathroom,” Scheier said. “I thought there has to be a way for him to dress like the other kids.”
In 2013, she launched Livingston, New Jersey-based Runway of Dreams as a nonprofit that would serve as an authority on adapting mainstream clothing. For the children’s clothing, the adaptations include a magnetic system to replace closures such as buttons and zippers with magnetic closures; adjustability for pant legs, sleeves and waistbands; and the ability to get in and out of clothing in different ways.
The Tommy Hilfiger adaptive children’s line, which Scheier worked with the designer’s technical team on, goes on sale today at Tommy.com. The adaptive styles will be identical to Tommy’s regular children’s clothing styles. The line is for boys sizes 4 to 20 and girls, sizes 4 to 18. Scheier said she couldn’t disclose financial terms of the deal, but said that the brand will be tapping into a growing market.
“One in 20 kids in the United States has a disability that would impair their ability to dress themselves,” Scheier said. “I think the market is enormous, and will be changing. This is a demographic that has not been tapped into yet. “
If Scheier’s deal sounds familiar that’s because PVH (NYSE: PVH), which owns Tommy Hilfiger, recently partnered with Maura Horton of Raleigh, North Carolina, who had developed adaptable dress shirts for men and women using her own patented MagnaReady technology, which uses fabric-covered magnets instead of buttons to secure the clothing. Her initial inspiration was her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease, and was having trouble buttoning his dress shirts.
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