Marks and Spencer lead the way for accessible fashion with their new ‘easy dressing’ range

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Clothing giant, Marks and Spencer, have sparked positive change on the high street with a new collection designed for children with disabilities.

The multinational retailer has just become the first major high street store to release a collection designed for children with sensory and physical disabilities.

Image Credit: M&S

This new venture by M&S has been in the making for two years, as they took the time to consult with paediatricians and parents from specialist schools.

Dr John Chang, Consultant Paediatrician at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, who advised on the range, said: “As a doctor you can help parents with a range of complex issues, but sometimes it’s the little things – like finding a jumper your child will actually wear – that can make the biggest difference.

“It was a brilliant experience to consult on the range and help explain the physical requirements for the products, I know for some parents this will be life changing.”

The new, ‘easy dressing’, range strives to make mornings easier for children with disabilities.

Image Credit: M&S

Rebecca Garner, Kidswear Designer at M&S, said: “We’ve absolutely loved working on this project and are proud that every product started from listening to mums and dads.

“Parents passionately told us that disabilities don’t define their children, so the adaptations shouldn’t define their clothes, it’s why all the products are inclusively designed and modelled closely on our main collection.”

A few of the important alterations made include switching complex zippers for simple poppers and the inclusion of discreet pockets for feeding tubes.

Ms Garner added: “So, whilst big sister might wear a dress with sequins, the little one who wants to match but has sensory needs will have a softer glitter.”

As much as M&S deserve to be applauded for their initiative to create positive change, why is it that we have waited so long for a line like this to be made available?

There are 1.5 million children in the UK with physical or sensory disabilities, so why has no major retailer made their clothing accessible to these children, who make up such a large proportion of our population, before.

Modern society preaches equality in all aspects of life, but in terms of fashion, do we really see this in practice?

For me, the fact that it’s taken until 2018 for an, ‘easy dressing’ line to be created, has confounded the fact that the British high street is not currently evolving at the same pace as society.

Forget ‘specialist’ ranges, accessible clothing must be integrated into all kids clothing lines.

Our high street currently does very little to cater to minorities and this is something that must change.

In an ideal world this move from M&S would force other major retailers to follow suit.

But this is entirely dependent on whether these retailers choose to favour financial gain over creating accessible fashion.

Only time will tell, but this could mark a crossroads in which our major retailers must choose whether to evolve in line with society or to simply be left behind.

Words by Holly Harper

Flora and Katie are your fashion editors

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