The high-street retailer has created garments with extra space for casts, discreet pockets for feeding tubes, softer materials for those with sensitive skin, and fewer seams. They’ve made trousers with poppers instead of buttons and T-shirts with velcro fastening.
To create the range, M&S surveyed 300 parents and also designed and developed the garments in partnership with three specialist schools. The in-house team was supported by a consultant paediatrician.
“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,” said Dr John Chang, consultant paediatrician at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust who advised on the range.
Dr Chang added: “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 and I look forward to seeing how it develops.”
Rebecca Garner, kidswear designer at M&S, developed the range with buyer Emma Chang and technologist Charlotte Hunt. Rebecca said they listened carefully to the needs of mums and dads to ensure the range was practical and helpful for the kids who need them.
“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,” Rebecca 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.”
The range has had a huge amount of support on social media.
Clothes in the M&S ‘easy dressing’ range:
- Trousers and shorts with the zips and buttons replaced by a straight forward popper
- Leggings with flat-lock seams (usually used in sports leggings)
- T-shirts with a soft velcro fastening at the back of the neck for easy over-the-head dressing
- T-shirts and dresses with discreet pockets for a feeding tube
- Coats and gilets with velcro down the front and back so they’re easier to put on if you’re in a wheelchair
- Smart shirts with soft velcro behind the buttons
- Babygrows with dimensions to allow for a cast, suitable for babies with hip dysplasia.