Clothing design for people with disabilities

2009 October 5
by Liz Henry
Clothing design for people with disabilities

Here’s an interesting contest for clothing design for people with disabilities. I’m writing to the event organizers to ask them if they’ll think about asking contest submissions to be sent in with Creative Commons (commercial use okay) attribution licences. Then, they could post all the submissions for people to browse, learn from, and use.

It is finally here. We are pleased to announce the launch of the Fashion Moves Garment Design Competition. Register at

The goal of this Competition is to introduce Fashion Students around the World, to the opportunities of designing for people with various disabilities.

For an executive who uses a wheelchair, the suit jacket needs to be shortened and winter overcoats designed to be easier to put on and more comfortable to wear

For a teacher who wears a below-the-knee prosthetic, design trousers that are stylish but easy to enable removal of the prosthetic through the day without needing to take the pants off.

For anyone with limited hand dexterity, design shirts and blouses that have a formal look but are easier to do up without assistance.

For women taking part in the Ms Wheelchair America pageants, designing evening dresses that will not tangle in the wheels.

And performance ski suits for the Paralympic skiers who use sit-skis.

The First Annual Fashion Moves Garment Design Competition is now open! Students studying Fashion and Garment Design are invited to register and put their skills to work. There is no fee to register and all reports are submitted by E-Mail or through the website. Students from every corner of the Earth can meet together through Fashion Moves and exchange ideas and forge future business connections.

Please spread the word. If you have a College or a University in your town, forward this note to them, asking them to post it to the Students. If you know someone already studying Fashion or Garment Design, send them a copy to share with their classmates.

Thanks for taking time to visit. Lets use the internet to it’s best purpose and spin this information around the world in days.

Bye for now. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this work.
Ruth J. Clark
Fashion Moves
link from D-WILD list for women with disabilities

Fashion Moves looks like a lovely and interesting project. Now, looking at the contest rules, they do seem unlikely to get the point of the power of the Internet and copyleft. Rather than get people to submit to a contest and win a “Grand Prize” of having Fashion Moves make their design into a paper pattern that Fashion Moves then sells… there could be the vision of an alternate business model. One where, for example, all the designs would have patterns up in a free archive or repository, accessible from all over the world. Fashion Moves could put ads on that site, sell its print books wiht the same patterns in it, which people would still buy as gifts and so on. Their helpful designs would reach more people, probably a much more multilingual and international audience, and they could still make money. More information than *one pattern* would reach the world.

This contest and its limitations is a perfect example of old-style thinking about information and scarcity. Its result may be quite positive in that they inspire some fashion and design students to think about the particular needs of people with disabilities. But they miss both a global business opportunity to build a reputation, and an opportunity to build a valuable resource. Their idea, as it is, does not scale as high as it easily could.

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