BY MARISA GOGLIA
Being born with Cerebral Palsy, dressing myself wasn’t always possible; snapping buttons, zipping zippers and buttoning buttons were tasks I could never perform as a child. My only options were pull up pants and pull over shirts. Fast forward to 2016 and a whole new line of clothing is devoted to children with disabilities thanks to a mother and a well-known fashion designer.
From Tommy Hilfiger’s website usa.tommy.com, it started when Mindy Scheier’s son Oliver turned eight years old and his friends had begun to wear jeans to school. Oliver was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy and like me uses leg braces to help him walk. But the jeans would not fit over the braces and due to Oliver’s low muscle tone Scheier knew that Oliver would not be able to button or pull down the pants. Having been a designer Scheier took matters into her own hands and started to alter clothes to meet Oliver’s needs.
Through Facebook polls and many design patterns, Scheier and the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger teamed up to create 22 pieces for boys spanning sizes four to 20 and girl sizes from four to 18, according to the website.
“I’m beyond excited to see what he comes up with,” said Chelsea Crytzler, a humanities and social science major at County College of Morris. “It’s about time that there are clothes made just for us.”
Crytzler uses a wheelchair to get around campus and at times finds it difficult to look fashionable like her peers. “Trying to find pants that stay on yet look nice is a major pain. Sleeveless dresses are tricky to keep from falling when pushing in wheelchairs,” Crytzler said . “Plus finding dresses that you don’t trip on, yet are your age can be difficult if you don’t know where to look.”
The design of the clothes is simple, in fact so simple that I kept saying to myself I wish I had thought of this and if only this was around when I was a kid. When scrolling over the pink Runway of Dreams dress on Hilfiger’s site, where the zipper was once stitched, the patented MagnaReady Magnets take its place and the back of the dress opens with ease. With designs sketched and fabric dispersed on the table, fashion design major Lauren Gangone thought this new line of clothing was very innovative.
“I think it’s a very unique design, I would have never thought of magnets because they are so complex,” Gangone said. “I mainly use zippers, but because it’s kids Velcro would be another option.”
As of right now, this collection is only sold online and the cost is the same as the original Tommy Hilfiger collection according to the site. The advertising needs tending to and unless one was scrolling through their Facebook feed, no one would really know about Hilfiger’s new venture, myself included.
“I’ve seen it on the internet, from the clothes that I saw, it looks like normal clothes and I was like…Oh, this is for people with disabilities,” said Attiyya Jenkins, a fashion merchandising major, “It’s harder to market because it’s a new concept, I would try to put in an ad in the New York Times…I would just generalize it and get the word out everywhere, children’s hospitals would be a smart place to go to as well.”
Tommy Hilfiger’s catch phrase on his website is “Because every kid deserves a great pair of jeans.” However, this is only the beginning because I can only hope that a shoe line comes out for people with disabilities and if Hilfiger puts his name to it then it’s an added bonus.