How Can Tech Fashion Help People With Disabilities?

In February, Nike made headlines when it announced the release of its first-ever hands-free sneaker, called the GO FlyEase, which was designed using science and technology to allow wearers to slip their feet into stylish sneakers without having to zip, tie, or Velcro the shoes closed. Instead, the brand used a piece of elastic for tension and a hinged sole that, together, remove any stress from taking shoes on and off. According to the design team behind the Go FlyEase sneaker, the product was initially designed for athletes with disabilities. But in the process, they realized that the shoe was much more universal, as expressed by one designer in a “Behind The Design” video. In making the sneaker accessible and desirable for all consumers, as opposed to only marketing it to people with disabilities, Nike paved the way for a less othered shopping experience for people with disabilities. “It’s going to take mainstream adoption in order for [adaptive fashion] to get where it needs to be,” Stephanie Thomas, founder of disability fashion styling platform Cur8able, told Refinery29 at the time of the launch. When people without disabilities suddenly desire disability fashion, there becomes a financial incentive for brands to create more adaptive fashion options.