Student creates adaptive fashion range for people with physical disabilities

A student from Nottingham Trent University wowed crowds at her graduation show with her innovative collection of clothes designed for people with disabilities.

Evie Ashwin showcased her adaptive collection as part of Graduate Fashion Week, and each outfit was worn by a model who has a physical disability.

Evie’s collection aims to address the problems that the fashion industry can cause for disabled people, recognising that fashion should be fully accessible for everyone.

‘I wanted a concept that would reflect inclusivity and a strong sense of belonging and community,’ says Evie.

‘We all have different expectations from our clothes – we want pieces that fit well. We use clothing to express our personalities and to fit in with our peer groups, so we need clothing to be fashionable and trend setting.

‘When we find the right outfit it enhances our appearance and we feel good and confident about ourselves.

‘However, the majority of high street clothing is made to enhance the able-bodied figure, with little or no regard for the physically disabled sector of society.’

Graduate Fashion Week is a celebration of imaginative and innovative collections from seven universities including Bath Spa, Birmingham City, Nottingham Trent, Manchester School of Art, Manchester Fashion Institute, Edinburgh College of Arts and Ravensbourne.

Evie is proud that her collection is doing something positive.

‘My concept is based on the football culture. The reason why I have looked at football is because it is a community which everyone feels part of, no one is left out,’ says Evie.

‘I am looking at the slogan “Strength In Unity” and I believe this sums up my collection, especially their passion and brotherhood for one another.’

‘I feel like the timing is right, there is lots of talking about mental health in the media and body positivity, it’s about time we talk about inclusive design too.’

Evie used a questionnaire to understand the issues that people with a disability have with regards to clothing.

She also reached out to various companies who campaign for equality for people with a disability, as well as a wheelchair sport company, RGK Wheelchairs.

‘The beauty of my collection is that although my designs are adaptive, you would never know by looking at my clothes. This is because I have hidden easy fastenings for quick and independent dressing, for example, magnetic zips, snap taping and magnetics for buttons.

‘The idea behind my designs is that it can be worn by anyone, if you have a disability or not.

‘I want my designs to be accessible to all individuals, whether they’re disabled or not. I want disability to be included in the designer approach from the very beginning.’

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