Hilfiger launching collection for the disabled

NEW YORK • With retail traffic slowing and apparel brands fighting harder than ever for customers, Tommy Hilfiger is going after a largely untapped market: people with disabilities.

The fashion brand owned by PVH Corp is launching an adult clothing line with adjusted seams and openings that allow caregivers to dress the wearer, reported Bloomberg.

The initiative builds on a collection the company had created for kids last year.

Tommy Hilfiger has also added magnetic closures to the clothes, making it easier to pull them over the head or get dressed with one hand.

Making clothes for disabled shoppers may seem like a niche market, but there are millions of potential customers in the United States and around the world - and they get short shrift from most brands.

The company's founder and designer Tommy Hilfiger, 66, described the effort as part of "the democratisation of fashion".

He noted that "inclusivity... has always been at the core of my brand's DNA".

The best part of this is that Tommy Hilfiger has not designed a collection that looks any different to his other ranges. He's simply adapted them to offer this choice of fastenings and shapes.

MR PHILLIP CONNOLLY, policy and development manager of Disability Rights UK

"These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently-abled adults to express themselves through fashion."

The so-called adaptive clothing line, announced last week, consists of 37 men's and 34 women's styles and is based on its sportswear collection.

Pants will have velcro closures and magnetic flies and zippers, as well as adjusted leg openings and hems that accommodate leg braces and orthotics.

The company developed the line-up after the success of its collection for children in the spring of last year in a tie-up with Runway Of Dreams, a non-profit body that seeks to make fashion more accessible for people with disabilities.

The company's new move has got the thumbs up from organisations which work with people with disabilities.

"The best part of this is that Tommy Hilfiger has not designed a collection that looks any different to his other ranges. He's simply adapted them to offer this choice of fastenings and shapes," Mr Phillip Connolly, Disability Rights UK's policy and development manager, was cited as saying by The Telegraph.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'Hilfiger launching collection for the disabled'. Print Edition | Subscribe