Tilotama, a young girl in Kerala with congenital disabilities, has inspired her father, a fashion designer, to create a special collection for differently abled persons.
For the 11-year-old Tilotama, carrying out simple tasks like wearing clothes and using washroom were difficult. But her father Joe Ikareth changed all that!
Joe, who is a fashion designer, has launched a new collection called ‘Move Ability’ which is specially designed for differently abled persons. “To design clothes for differently abled persons, studying their bodies is necessary,” said Joe.
His designs use magnets, velcro and asymmetric cuts which tend to shift focus away from evident body disproportions in a differently abled person.
“Being surrounded by differently abled people helps you to become more sensitive to them. The idea of making a clothing line started with Tilotama. Because of her practical challenges of going to school by herself, going to the toilet by herself… on a day to day basis,” he said. He removed the zips and buttons in clothes.
“Clothes with buttons and zips are difficult for me but the clothes my father designs are very easy to handle,” said Tilotama.
Also, Joe told TopYaps that the clothes have made Tilotama more confident about her body and she feels special and proud that she has clothes specially made for her
To help Joe with his creation, his wife Murielle Ikareth’s knowledge came in handy.
Murielle, who is a movement therapist, helped Joe to understand how his clothes would restrict or enable movements.
“If I cannot move completely and freely, I need to concentrate on what my body can do. Concentrate on what we can do and what we are able to do. We worked on the idea of how to adapt beautiful clothes to people who cannot move like we do,” Murielle said.
To make his clothing line affordable for differently abled persons, Joe is trying to reach NGOs and corporate to subsidise his designs.
“Recently, we designed ‘Move Ability’ pants for a lady in Mumbai who has a prosthetic leg,” he said.
Besides that, Joe also receives orders from individuals from across the country. “I make clothes for individual people who have approached me. This also allows us to have products for specific needs and a broader range of clothing solutions,” he added.
An estimated 6 percent of the Indian population is differently abled, and many of them are from economically constrained families.