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Accessible Underwear and Adaptive Clothing

Posted by Francis Whitehead on February 5, 2024

Accessible Underwear and Adaptive Clothing

An estimated 16 million people in the UK are currently living with a disability, yet findings from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers reveals that three in five (62 per cent) disabled shoppers find it difficult to find clothes that they feel happy and comfortable in because of their disability.

That’s where leading retailers in affordable clothing Primark come in, introducing their brand-new range of adaptive fashion.

Adaptive clothing is specially catered to the needs of those with disabilities, making it more practical and comfortable to both wear and put on. Adaptations such as easy closures, magnetic clasps and the use of materials like Velcro can help greatly.

The range has been co-designed with technical specialists, greatly influenced by real feedback from disabled people.

The range includes four lingerie items:

  • Seam-free bra: Black seam-free bra featuring recycled nylon with magnetic closures at the front
  • Lace bralette: Black plunging lace bralette with magnetic closures at the front
  • Brief: Black brief featuring recycled nylon with magnetic closures at each side
  • Period pants brief: Black period brief featuring recycled nylon with magnetic closures at each side

Models with disabilities wearing the adaptive underwear range from Primark

This announcement has had a wide array from those with disabilities, who have been asking for a basic commodity like affordable and accessible underwear for years.

What People Think of Adaptive Clothing

Dr Shani Dhanda, accessibility specialist, said:

Disabled people are faced with much higher unavoidable living costs, and the choices available when it comes to clothing are often limited and expensive. I regularly experience first-hand the frustration of not finding clothes that fit my body, highlighting the systemic barriers deeply embedded in our society.

Brands hold a pivotal role in dismantling these barriers that profoundly impact the daily lives of disabled people. That is why I am delighted to see Primark’s dedication to inclusivity and accessibility. Their comprehensive and holistic approach is poised to address the diverse barriers faced not only by their customers, but also by their colleagues."

Eliza Rain, a disabled content creator from London, reinforces the fact that adaptive underwear helps people with disabilities maintain their independence and feel more confident.

There have been times where I've had a couple of wardrobe issues and then I end up just getting frustrated with what I'm wearing. You just want to feel confident in yourself and if something isn't working in my chair, that can just be frustrating and doesn't make me feel that great or confident."

Primark has also partnered with disability awareness Purple Tuesday, with founder Mike Adams OBE, adding:

For disabled people, clothes shopping on the high street remains a challenge. Being able to access shops easily and have a choice of clothing that meets their needs is unfortunately not the norm for many disabled consumers. Purple Tuesday is an initiative that is working to improve the customer experiences of disabled people globally and across industry. We are delighted to be working with Primark as a leading high street retailer on their disability inclusion journey, supporting them to achieve their accessibility goals and remove the barriers faced by disabled people who shop with them."

Many other brands have followed and set the wavelength for accessible clothing, with Tommy Hilfiger recently launching Tommy Adaptive, a range clothes modified to make them easier for people with disabilities to wear, from jeans that fit over prosthetic legs to shirts with easy-open necklines.

George and Children in Need have also partnered in creating adaptive clothing for children, with cut outs for feeding tubes incorporated.

Children in Need clothing range

What We Think

We at Ability Superstore are overjoyed to see new, affordable solutions readily available for those with disabilities to use.

Adaptive clothing, including accessible underwear, plays a crucial role in promoting inclusivity and breaking down societal stigmas surrounding disability. By offering fashionable and functional options, it encourages a positive self-image and challenges stereotypes associated with disabilities. This shift towards inclusivity in fashion contributes to a more diverse representation in the industry, fostering a culture that recognizes and celebrates the uniqueness of every individual, regardless of their physical abilities.

We are advocates of promoting accessibility and providing convenient and affordable solutions to problems and difficulties that those with disabilities face every day, which is why we sell a wide range of dressing aids such as the Buckingham Bra Angel, the Soxon Sock Aid, and even adaptive jackets suitable for wheelchair users.

For those who deal with incontinence on a regular basis, we also have a wide range of discrete incontinence briefs.

We see this as a great step forward for inclusivity for all, and hope you at home can make use of our wide range of independent living aids too.