A report by Christine Dalkan for Trinidad’s Guardian.
Adaptive clothing, designed specifically for people with various types of disabilities or limited mobility, is possibly the latest kid on the international fashion block. It has been identified as a niche market. Big names like Tommy Hilfiger and Nordstrom have already jumped on board and brought out adaptive clothing collections. Yet, locally, there’s no sign of this in local stores or our fashion runways.
However last Sunday, some designers from the Caribbean Academy of Fashion Design (CAFD) of UTT showed their versatility and took this issue head-on. Models, including Athaliah Samuel and Greer Iton, strutted the runway, wearing adaptive pieces created by various designers, both prominent and relatively new.
The plan was to design clothing that would make the daily task of dressing easier and even fashionable for the disabled while raising funds for the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD).
According to NCPD vice chair Dr Natalie Dick, the organisation “plans to use its allocation from the fund-raiser for the installation and purchase of a security system for both of its buildings, the main location on New Street as well as the Unit of NCPD on Seukaran Street, San Fernando”.
The inaugural event, titled Inclusion Dans La Mode (IDLM), took place at OASIS Garden Terrace, Circular Road, San Fernando. It was collaboration between the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and T&T Medical Association—central branch. Remarkably, everyone who took part in the show gave their time for free.
On the runway that evening, the work of local designers who volunteered their talent and garments free of charge were showcased. The designers included Darcel M de Vlugt, Robert Anthony Young (The Cloth) Shaun Griffith Perez Designs, Dominique La Roche (DLR Designs Boutique), Natasha Athara Lewis, Harvey Robertson (CAFD Student of the Year 2016), and Donna May Baptiste (Coloured Souls).
Fashion designer Dominique La Roche, described creating pieces for IDLM as “a refreshing and informative experience.” Harvey Robertson, CAFD Student of the Year 2016, presented his Thesis collection, I Am Soca, which included elements of adaptability, mainly by the use of zippers.
Robertson also did adaptive pieces mainly for children, that he gifted to the children who modelled the pieces. According to him, his pieces are meant to allow people with disabilities to be both fashionable and comfortable.
Another one of the designers, Natasha Athara Lewis has a physically disability but has clearly not let that stop her, as she also showed her versatility at the show.
There was also a silent auction of paintings, including a few pieces created by prisoners and donated by the Administration of the T&T Prison Service from their Art Shop of Carrera Island Prison.
• For information about NCPD’s upcoming fund-raiser Tea by the Sea, call them at 657-4363/221-NCPD.