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Why The Adaptive Clothing Collective Was My Favourite Show At AAFW 2022

On the fourth day of AfterPay Australia Fashion Week, we were fortunate enough to attend the Adaptive Clothing Collective which was a huge first this year! Something that everyone should...
Credit: Getty Images

On the fourth day of AfterPay Australia Fashion Week, we were fortunate enough to attend the Adaptive Clothing Collective which was a huge first this year and something that everyone should be excited about, in my opinion!

The Adaptive Clothing Collective’s purpose is to introduce mainstream media, retail and the fashion industry in general to adaptive designers and a whole section of the industry that is yet to have the voice it deserves.

Adaptive clothing refers to the design and functionality of clothes for people with disabilities. Their purpose is to create awareness within the industry and highlight their ability to design clothes stylishly with accessibility and function for the disabled in mind. This is a whole new way to look at fashion with functionality at the forefront rather than the latest trend or the most extravagant ball gown.

The two designers that showcased their collections this year were JAM and Christina Stephens.

After spending 5 years walking for Australian Fashion Week and now experiencing it for the first time on the other side, the Adaptive Clothing Collective show was honestly the most beautiful show I’ve ever seen. Each model that walked had their whole outfit designed for them specifically with inspiration from what makes them feel amazing about themselves!

There’s a rule in fashion that extends to everyone and it’s the fact that when you wear something that makes you feel confident, empowered, beautiful, or incredible, like you can take on the world; it changes the way you walk, the way you talk, the overall feeling that you have about yourself. You know you look amazing and you don’t need anyone else to tell you otherwise. This show did exactly that in the most beautiful way possible.

Every story that was told about each model down the runway just gave me this overwhelming sense of emotion, like you could not be happier to see them down the catwalk just giving it everything they have and having the most enjoyable time.

The one thing that I loved about this show and the design of the clothes was the use of magnets to make everything easily accessible for each person no matter their disability. There was even lingerie that could be taken off with magnets! There really wasn’t anything left out. It felt that every disability was addressed. It isn’t just the accessibility and function that benefits either as the materials and the design of everything were also incredibly well thought out and executed.

Carol Taylor, designer and co-founder of Christina Stephens, started designing her own clothes after becoming a quadriplegic herself and was incredibly frustrated with the lack of options offered by mainstream fashion outlets and designers. To see her creations come to life and the pure emotion that she visibly felt on the final walk through of the show was truly beautiful. It was enough to make me cry!

This show, even though it was the first time that it was showing, has already turned heads within the industry. It’s given designers and consumers a lot to digest. It’s clearly possible to be inclusive of people from all walks of life, even when it comes to a runway show. While the industry still has a long way to go, I really hope to see The Adaptive Clothing Collective expand to become the main focus of Australian Fashion Week. If there’s an opportunity for you to witness it at next year’s Australian Fashion Week then I highly recommend attending because it’s something you don’t want to miss!

Out of all the shows we got to attend, this was by far my all-time favourite!

For more like this, check out Day One and Two of Australian Fashion Week. 


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