Integrating style with practical silhouettes, city designers are offering bespoke creations for the differently-abled
From Delhi-based swimwear designer duo Shivan and Narresh, who designed a special mastectomy blouse in 2013, to designer Tommy Hilfiger who recently released a range of exclusive adaptive clothing for children, to brands like Van Heusen and Calvin Klein – designers have often stepped out in support of people with special needs. Joining these ranks is city-based fashion designer Shalini Vishakan, whose apparel brings adaptive clothing and couture together. Early this year at the Trios Fashion show, wheel-chair bound models took to the ramp for the first time to showcase her line of inclusive clothing. Sticking to her forte, the 30-year-old NIFT graduate’s label, Suvastra, sees a range of Indo-Western party wear for men and women in fabrics ranging from
cottons and linens to jute. “The goal of the collection was to look stylish, and that the models are very comfortable in what they wore,” says Shalini, who started her line in 2016.
While most adaptive clothing is made to order, Shalini says that her entire line uses velcro and magnetic strips instead of buttons, hooks and zippers. “Some of my clients are patients who have had spinal cord injuries and are unable to move their fingers to button their shirts or pants, velcro makes things much easier for them,” she says. Inspired by her husband who is polio-affected and in a wheel-chair, the young-designer’s first project started off by attaching additional loops on his pants that would help people lift him. Her next customisation included a one-piece sari for a neighbour. “The show was meant to showcase the design capabilities of Suvastra,” she adds. Shalini’s design studio currently offers customised crop tops, maxi skirts, palazzos for women and kurtas, sherwanis and dhotis with inseam zippers and longer crotch length for men. Rs 1,000 onwards. Details: 9962318808
Another city designer who has been doing her bit for the cause since 2007 is Valentina Ireena. “Most of the time, clothing that is made for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs)
is ill-fitting. The fact that they are singled-out because of their clothing is unbecoming,” she says. Valentina’s bespoke women’s clothing for PWDs look in no way different from that of her other clientele and come with concealed zippers and velcro strips. The 33-year-old designer suggests asymmetrical skirts, loose, flowy silhouettes and A-line gowns for PWDs, while also offering special blouses for women affected by breast cancer. Rs 2,500 onwards. Details: 9840450424
— Rebecca Vargese