A Closer Look: Transforming the Fashion Industry Through Inclusive Design

DISABILITY AND BEAUTY
2015 New Challenge Winner
Lucy Jones, Fashion Design

Disability and Beauty seeks to implement a more inclusive approach to fashion by challenging the notion that design for those with disabilities must constitute a separate market. The idea for this project was inspired by Jake, the 14-year-old cousin of Lucy Jones. Jake suffers from hemiplegia and has trouble dressing himself. Lucy first started working on this project when a professor gave her an assignment to design something that would “change the world through fashion.” She continued with the project, ultimately making it the focus of her Senior Thesis at Parsons.

I was offered an opportunity that made me ask myself... do I want to help a small amount of people or a lot of people, and I went with the latter.
— Lucy Jones, New School student

As Lucy gains additional experience, insights, and connections, she has recognized the importance of being open-minded, trusting herself when assessing opportunities for collaboration, and recognizing her self-worth. She is committed to making it easier for individuals who are differently abled to find simple, beautiful, and functional clothing. For Lucy to tackle all disabilities would not have been feasible, so she decided to focus on the seated body, individuals who use wheelchairs. She is now implementing her original goals on a much larger scale by working with Mindy Scheier, fashion designer and founder of the nonprofit Runway of Dreams. This groundbreaking organization is adapting mainstream clothing for people with different abilities, similar to maternity or petite lines, throug partnerships with major fashion labels. Runway of Dreams recently announced a partnership with Tommy Hilfiger to launch an adaptive version of select styles from its children’s line.

I think [adaptive clothes] can make a difference because it’s time for the world to see that we are all equal. I just want to feel as normal and non-different as I can.
— Liam, child with spinal muscular atrophy

Lucy’s work on this project, combined with her undergraduate thesis, has resulted in numerous honors and acclaim. In addition to having been selected as “Designer of the Year” at Parsons and being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Arts and Style Class of 2016, she secured a fellowship through the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to work as a “Social Innovator” at Eileen Fisher, Inc., a top women’s clothing brand known for its commitment to human rights, environmental sustainability, and social impact. Since completing her BFA in Fashion, Lucy has received significant press in many prominent publications and venues, including Seventeen magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue, among others.

Adaptive clothing will absolutely be that next department that we’re going to see in our stores, in our society, as something that becomes very much a mainstream notion.
— Mindy Scheier, Fashion Designer
Runway of Dreams is at the forefront of a revolution that’s starting to happen, that will change the way we look at disability in this country in a really positive way.
— Dr. Danielle , Psychologist, Model, and Disability-Rights Advocate