Australian Fashion Week debuts first adaptive clothing runway
12th May 2022

In a celebration of inclusivity and diversity, Australian Fashion Week hosted an adaptive runway showcasing fashionable clothing options for bodies with a disability. 

The best of Australian fashion has been on show in Sydney at Australian Fashion Week, where history has been made with its first runway dedicated to adaptive fashion.

Created to showcase stylish, fashion-forward clothing options made specifically for people with disabled and non-disabled bodies, the adaptive runway show placed inclusivity at the forefront. Featuring designs by JAM and Christina Stephens, the show included garments made using magnetic closures, zips and other functional elements to help provide easier access for those who need it, including people using prosthetics or wheelchairs. 

Christina Stephens

“We would love it in the future if people hear about inclusive and adaptive clothing, that they know what it means,” JAM founders Emma Clegg and Molly Rogers told the Sydney Morning Herald

Clegg and Rogers are occupational therapists who founded their fashion label in 2019 in an effort to make the task of dressing easier and more comfortable for all. “A big part of that is educating the public on what adaptive clothing looks like and what has been considered in the design process,” Clegg said. 

JAM the label

The show elicited an emotional response from its audience. Key looks included a suit designed with a contrasting blue and pink colourway to help people with visual impairments to distinguish colours, as well as a gown with a skirt created specifically not to get caught in the wheels of a wheelchair. 

Christina Stephens

While this is a great move forward for inclusivity and accessibility, Carol Taylor, co-designer of Christina Stephens, says that she hopes that adaptive, thoughtfully designed fashion will one day simply be considered the norm. 

“It’s more than just magnets and Velcro, and by showcasing at Australian Fashion Week, I believe we begin the journey of taking adapted fashion mainstream,” she told ABC News Australia.  “People with disabilities want to be included in the fashion conversation and have the same access to fun, colour and excitement as everybody else.”

JAM the label

Christina Stephens

JAM the label

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