ADAPTED APPAREL COLLECTION

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT & INSPIRATION

The purpose of this product development capstone was to develop a five-piece adaptive clothing collection that catered to the unique needs of people living with disabilities. The four month undertaking began with market research, to better understand the needs of the consumer and assess the strengths and weaknesses of established competitors in the market. From there, the project moved into the digital line development stage which included the creation of technical illustrations, 3D CLO renders, and Backbone technical packages. The final stretch of the project culminated in a program-wide presentation where student’s digital collections and physical prototypes were ranked based on their innovation and ability to satisfy the needs of their target market.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

As the adaptive clothing market has expanded, a chasm has simultaneously grown alongside it, dividing the market between highly functional medical clothing and aesthetically limited high-price formal wear. The intent of this collection was to bridge that divide, and provide aesthetically versatile and functional adaptive clothing options to a market of 20 to 35 year old women who routinely rely on the use of a wheelchair.

DESIGN DIRECTION

The design aesthetic of the collection was rooted in the idea of translating minimalistic details into functional features for wheelchair users. Details like cutout back bodices were utilized to reduce bulk behind an individual's body and their chair, enhancing breathability and overall comfort. Small cutouts and stretch panels at tight garment entry points were advantageous for their ability to simplify the donning and doffing process. The color palette was inspired by soothing natural forms, with each color selected on its ability to maximize interchangeability within the collection.

 

Materials and trims were selected on the basis of their ability to meet the target market’s functional and expressive needs of thermoregulation and concealable adaptive features. Additionally, natural fabrics like lyocell and linen were chosen for their absorbency, breathability, and softness. Trimwise, conceable closure items like magnetic buttons and invisible zippers were added to the collection to allow for easier entry and seated comfort.

 

COTTON PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGY

A variety of innovative cotton fabrics from CottonWorks were sourced for their superior performance finishes and mechanical properties. CottonWork’s woven Natural Stretch technology was utilized to aid range of motion, while Wicking Windows construction and TransDRY finishes were used to address aspects of heat buildup and comfort. The superior durability provided by Tough Cotton fabrics were favored for abrasion hotspots, specifically in areas that were found to regularly come into contact with the wheelchair.

DESIGN INSPIRATION BOARD

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MATERIALS & TRIMS BOARD

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PRODUCT PRESENTATION

THE MOTION BLAZER

STYLE #AA001

Constructed in a cropped seated fit that ends at the waist, this cotton blazer is great for bulk-less layering. Half-length sleeves with adjustable zippered openings stay out of the way when wheeling and a shoulder contouring stretch neoprene panel provides improved range of motion.

TARGET MSRP
$195.99 

FABRICATION
92% COTTON, 8% POLYESTER

SIZE RANGE
SIZES 0 - 16

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Sleeve Zipper Callout

UNOBSTRUCTED MOVEMENT

Triangular cutouts at sleeve openings and full length invisible zippers  allow for unobstructed arm extensions when wheeling.

PRODUCT FEATURES & DETAILS

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PROTRACTION SUPPORT

Shoulder blade contouring neoprene stretch improves range of motion when the back is flexed forward in the wheeling position.

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STRESS POINT MANAGEMENT

A multifunctional vent cutout at the lower back redirects garment stress towards the stretch panel while providing additional airflow.

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PRODUCT COLORWAYS

THE MOTION TROUSERS

STYLE #AA002

With a seated fit, bulk eliminating back knee darts, and waistband pull tabs, these are the perfect pair of trousers for wheelchair users. Neoprene stretch panels ease dressing and improve range of motion, while Natural Stretch and TransDRY treated cotton fabrication adds comfort and breathability.

TARGET MSRP
$214.99 

FABRICATION
97% COTTON, 3% POLYESTER

SIZE RANGE
SIZES 0 - 16

The Motion Trousers

PRODUCT FEATURES & DETAILS

Neoprene Panel Callout

MOTION AIDING FLEX

Neoprene panels at the sides of the waistband allow for greater flexing around the abdominal region, improving comfort when wheeling.

Knee Dart Callout

NATURALLY SEATED FIT

Darts at the back of the knees reduce bulk and pull the legs towards a seated position while a pitched rise conforms to the seated body shape.

Pull-tab Callout

EFFORTLESS DRESSING

Waistband pull-tabs and neoprene stretch panels at the garment's tightest entry points enhance the overall donning and doffing process.

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PRODUCT COLORWAYS

THE SWIFT SWEATER

STYLE #AA003

This mockneck sweater is made from single knit French terry cotton with a wheelchair friendly low-high hemline, stretch side panels, and a zipper secured pouch pocket. Glove-like Tough Cotton reinforced palm pads can be pulled over your thumbs and are built to withstand abrasion from wheel movement.

TARGET MSRP
$159.99 

FABRICATION
95% COTTON, 5% POLYESTER

SIZE RANGE
SIZES 0 - 16

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PRODUCT FEATURES & DETAILS

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ANATOMICAL COMFORT

Split side seams and a low-high hemline contour around the seated form, minimizing fabric buildup between the wearer and their wheelchair.

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USER-CENTERED UTILITY

Thumbhole cuffs with reinforced abrasion resistant palm pads can be utilized to protect the user’s hands while wheeling.

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PRODUCT COLORWAYS

THE BREEZE BLOUSE

STYLE #AA004

An airy cotton-linen sleeveless blouse with magnetized side seams for improved ease of dressing. Wicking Window technology across the back bodice and yoke provides additional thermoregulation for seated users.

TARGET MSRP
$104.99 

FABRICATION
65% COTTON, 35% LINEN

SIZE RANGE
SIZES 0 - 16

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MAGNETIC ENTRY POINTS

Discrete magnetic button bands along the bodice side seams generate alternative methods of donning and doffing for seated users.

PRODUCT FEATURES & DETAILS

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MOISTURE WICKING COMFORT

Wicking Windows technology utilized in the back bodice and yoke helps minimize heat build up between the wearer and their wheelchair.

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SYNERGISTIC DESIGN

Additional ease and a split edge design alleviates tension at the side seams, reducing the chance of the magnetic closures separating.

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PRODUCT COLORWAYS

THE EQUILIBRIUM DRESS

STYLE #AA005

A cotton/lyocell blend fit and flare sleeveless dress with a low-high hemline that stays out of the way while wheeling. While a zippered closure system at the back bodice allows for easy garment entry and removal.

TARGET MSRP
$219.99 

FABRICATION
60% COTTON, 40% LYOCELL

SIZE RANGE
SIZES 0 - 16

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PRODUCT FEATURES & DETAILS

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THERMAL BALANCE

TransDRY treated moisture wicking spacer mesh fabric at the lower back equalizes thermal proliferation around the wheelchair backrest.

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WORRY-FREE WHEELING

A low-high hemline minimizes fabric buildup around the wheelchair footrest and caster wheels, contributing to a worry-free wheeling experience.

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PRODUCT COLORWAYS

TECHNICAL LINE DEVELOPMENT

PRODUCT COSTING & UTILIZATION

Projected product costs were estimated using a one third method, where materials costs, labor, and overhead each represent one third of the pre-production total. Although this method does not account for all potential costs, it does provide a rough estimate for product costing. To start the process, materials costs and yield were calculated using CLO 3D’s automated pattern marker system and Backbone PLM’s bill of materials. Additional factors that were included in the final MSRP calculations were a dealer margin of 52%, import-based tariff rates, marketing allowances, and freight charges from the producing country of origin, Vietnam.

To reduce unnecessary costs and streamline the production process, a component utilization report was generated using Backbone PLM. The results of the report were analyzed to determine if any materials could be eliminated or applied to multiple products. Data from the report indicated that multiple fabrics and trims were already being utilized across three or more products. Specialty fabrics like the TransDRY treated spacer mesh showed minimal utilization but the performance characteristics of the material were essential to the integrity of the product, so they were left untouched. The Equilibrium Dress and Swift Sweater were slightly redesigned after analyzing the report to allow for the same 7” zipper to be utilized across both products.

LINE SHEET

The last step in the technical development process was to produce a line sheet for the Adapted Apparel collection. Developed in Backbone, the line sheet contains relevant product information including each product's size range, colorways, MOQ, target margin, and MSRP. All of these details are imperative to the wholesaling process where buyers will need to be able to succinctly analyze the potential of a collection and place orders.