In an effort to create functional and stylish clothing for people with disabilities, the Open Style Lab runs a 10 week summer programme at Parsons with fellows from different disciplines. Run by Design Indaba alumni Grace Jun, the goal is to create clothes and accessories that are compelling and fashionable enough for people of all abilities to wear.
The Parson’s school of Design graduate and executive director of Open Style Lab is inspired by the people close to her.
It was after seeing how her friend, who is a breast cancer survivor, struggle to find the right clothing that she decided to design a garment for her. The jacket for breast cancer survivors (above) was made especially for people who had undergone surgical mastectomies. The sleeves of the jacket held together electrical components that connect through the sides to a chip hidden in the back. The data recorded can easily be accessed by doctors or physical therapists. These garments are able to record range of motion because of an embedded circuit system. Each garment is unique at first glance and touch.
During her Design Indaba talk, she spoke about her work in designing for an inclusive and considered future:
Another garment designed by Grace is the “Just-in-Jacket”, which was used by a high school student who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. The jacket is uniquely designed to not only provide comfort but it is also able to track range.
‘Suitable’ is a design made for a guy named Jim, who suffered a spinal cord injury and as a result has motor and sensory impairments. The injury not only affected his body's ability to move but also temperature. Jun used his needs as a design outline and created an adaptive sportcoat. The sportcoat featured frontal flaps that were easy to access for ventilation.
More on design technology:
Durban fashion designer Balini Naidoo on creating a range of clothes for the visually impaired | Design Indaba
When Balini Naidoo's uncle started gradually losing his eyesight, the fashion designer noticed the difficulty he faced when it came to choosing clothing and the lack of options for people like him. It made her want to do something. "Having a family member who is visually impaired has made me aware of the many struggles that are faced by the unsighted.