A different fashion: Making clothing designs inclusive

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'We are hoping to introduce clothing for persons with disabilities as a compulsory module in fashion colleges with the help of responsible educational institutions and Ministry of Textiles,' says Varija Bajaj, founder of Varija Life Trust. Photo: IANS
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New Delhi: Over 27 fashion colleges in India have joined hands to conduct research on adaptive clothing for people with disabilities.

"This is the first time in the world that so many fashion colleges have taken a collective responsibility to find solutions for the differently abled," said Varija Bajaj, founder of Varija Life Trust which has initiated the project.

Colleges like JD Institute of Fashion Technology-Delhi, Amity University, Whistling Woods International, Mumbai, Nirmala Niketan-Mumbai, International College of Fashion(ICF)-Delhi, International Polytechnic for Women-Delhi, JIMS-Delhi, Satyam-Noida, Lovely professional University-Jalandhar, INIFD-Surat, PINNACLE Institute of Fashion Technology-Ludhiana among others are the participants.

The core area of research will be for items for those who have hand or leg amputees, whether on wheel chair or crutches (also covering old age disability), the visually impaired, down syndrome, autistic, ADHD and those suffering from cerebral palsy.

The focus areas are on colour therapy, usage of material, construction of the outfit, aesthetics and comfort with special emphasis on unassisted/independent usage wherever possible.

Meghna Ghai Puri, President, Whistling Woods International said, "It is very important for us to create a world of non-bias and inclusivity for the next generation. If India is to become the New Age India ,then it is important for us to realise the importance of including those who are differently abled into our lives."

Bhaskar Mitra, Dean, Fashion Design and Technology, Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar said: "With technological advancements, our interaction with daily life and smart space/objects has increased manifold leading to novel concepts like inclusive and universal design. We as a design school can provide first hand input from data collection from field to final tangible product. The students are well versed with both qualitative and quantitative research and can come up with ingenious solutions ensuring holistic development of society."

Through this research Varija Life aims to work together with educational and health institutions to transform the experience of people with disabilities in India. "We are also hoping to introduce clothing for persons with disabilities as a compulsory module in fashion colleges with the help of responsible educational institutions and Ministry of Textiles," said Varija Bajaj.

Rupal Dalal, Executive Director, JD Institute of Fashion Technology said, "We are happy to associate with Varija Life. As a responsible design institution, we are reiterating our commitment to commemorate innovative design solutions. Students are mentored to use reasoning and logical thinking to create solutions that respond to universal design. An awareness mission to push social boundaries that regards all people as human beings."

Muskan Jain, who is a fashion design student feels, "The experience of working on this project has allowed us to enter the world of these special people and know them deeply. We are excited to work on our findings and create something which they would love using."

Researches will be rolled out for Interior and architecture in terms of need for universal design, product development and assisted devices apart from rolling out competitions for start-ups catering to this sector.

For individuals and colleges who wish to participate in this research can write to fashionresearch@varijalife.com.

The last date of submission of reports is January 15 and the final reports will be out in March.

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