When you live with a physical disability or difference, it can be hard to find clothes that are not just accommodating, but also stylish, age-appropriate, and flattering. For many people, there are medical devices like gastrostomy tubes, wheelchairs, and colostomies to factor in, and easy access is often a priority. Unfortunately, these are not considerations that your average mall store takes when designing—which is why we're so impressed by Target's 40-piece adaptive apparel line for kids.
Produced under the store's Cat & Jack label, the designs look the same as the clothes made for non-disabled children, just with a few added features like strategically-placed openings and zip-off sleeves. The line, which will hit Target's website on October 22 (though some pieces are available already), comes in sizes 2T-5T for toddlers and XS-XXL for children and will cost between $4.50 and $39.99.
According to Julie Guggemos, Target's senior vice president of product design and development, the idea to create adaptive apparel was born out of customer feedback. "It’s our goal at Target to always make sure we have products that fit our guests’ needs, and all at a reasonable price point," she said in a statement. "We heard from our guests—and members of our own team—that there’s a need for adaptive clothing for kids that is both fashionable and affordable, so we set out to create exactly that."
It's also not the first time Target has taken a woefully underserved population into consideration when designing. In August, the retailer released a line of sensory-friendly pieces aimed at children with autism, who sometimes find things like scratchy tags and raised seams distracting and uncomfortable.
Doctors, activists, and parents of children with disabilities are already speaking out in appreciation of the new line.
As the fashion world finally begins to embrace the plus-size market and we see more and more diversity of size and race on the runways, it's encouraging to see an influential mainstream retailer truly take on the needs of their customers. Perhaps it will inspire other retailers to take note.