Differently abled and on the runway
NEW YORK, NY (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Ten million American adults have problems with mobility and 3 million rely on a wheelchair full time to get around. One in four Americans lives with a disability. For people with disabilities, it’s a serious challenge finding clothes that feel good to wear and don’t restrict movement.
38-year-old Haly has two careers. She is a software engineer at JP Morgan and is also a musician. With very limited use of her hands, Tabi writes original music using a mouse pad and computer software. Her lyrics come from the heart and a lifetime of living with a progressive form of muscular dystrophy called SMA.
“Another thing that’s really important to me is to look like a rock star. I didn’t think twice about what is not available to me. I just buy clothes and then we customize them ourselves,” said Haly.
For years, fashion designer Cat Burkey worked for major sportswear companies. Two years ago, she was ready for a change.
Cat says she was “Looking to explore a little bit beyond, what able-bodied, straight-sized cis-gendered people wear to the gym.”
Cat found inspiration when she was selected to design for Double Take. The first-of-its-kind adaptive fashion show was held in New York during fall fashion week. All the models have SMA or care for someone who does. Designer Cat was paired with model-to-be, Tabi.
“I want this dress more than anything to work for her,” said Cat.
Cat designed an outfit with Tabi’s body and wheelchair in mind. She added, “The best thing you can do is have clothing that the wearer doesn’t think about.”
“It was such an amazing experience,” Haly said.
The Double Take fashion show was sponsored by the company Genentech, and staffed by the non-profit group, Open Style Lab, which started at MIT in Boston ten years ago. Open Style Lab teams designers, engineers, and occupational therapists design and build accessible wearables for people with disabilities. Cat Burkey and five other design fellows from Open Style Lab worked with the Double Take participants.
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