New retailer offers fashion for every human
A fashion retailer aimed at differently-abled people has just launched online, offering style, ease and comfort for all.
“My opinion is that over the next few years, we’re going to see a real focus on providing fashion for people of all abilities,” explained Matt Skerritt, founder of Every Human, which launched just two weeks ago.
“One in five in Australia have some form of disability and if you think about it, that’s a lot of people. There needs to be a focus on fashion for all and I think we’re at a starting point that it will be a focus moving forward, which is positive.”
Every Human has kicked off with nine brands so far and 90-100 products across men’s, women’s and kids wear. Most of the brands come from the US and Canada, where there are more adaptive fashion options available for people of different abilities, explained Skerritt, pointing to Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Converse.
Traditionally, the limited clothing options for people with disabilities tend to be more functional than stylish.
“Adaptive fashion is not a new concept, but everything is very medical and it isn’t necessarily what people want to wear. The [customers] look at a piece of adaptive clothing, they understand it has functional benefits, but they don’t want to jeopardise how they look. It isn’t fun, it doesn’t have the same look and feel and quality that typical clothing has,” Skerritt said.
Some of the fashion-forward products currently on Every Human include rose gold sneakers and red high tops with zippers and faux leather pants and activewear that can be worn and removed while seated and men’s shirts with magnetic closures.
As there is a wide spectrum of different abilities, it’s difficult to cater for everyone, especially as the site has just launched, Skerritt pointed out, although most people struggle while shoe shopping in particular. In the coming months, as Skerritt broadens the product range, a wider group of people will be able to shop from the site, too.
At the moment, for many kids with disabilities who want to wear mainstream brands, their parents will often buy a pair of shoes then cut a slit on the side so they can wear them.
“Now personally, I think that’s crazy. Why should someone have to go through that to be able to put on a shoe they love? I think people have had to make do with the choices they’ve been given. It’s been a real struggle for a lot of people trying to find clothing to suit their needs, which shouldn’t be the case at all,” he said.
Accessibility for all
Skerritt is currently talking to an organisation to engage people with disabilities to help outsource the business’ inventory fulfilment.
“It’s a really good way to give back to the community and get people with lived experience involved in our business. It hasn’t been finalised, but we’ll definitely be doing that in the new year,” he said.
Other plans include launching a major PR campaign and engaging influencers and celebrities with disabilities to act as ambassadors, as well as participating in expos and advertising through social media and traditional media.
At the moment, Every Human is moving towards meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which aim to make sites accessible for people with different abilities, including sight, hearing, movement and cognitive.
“It’s also on our social media, we always have an image description for people who are unable to see the images, so their phone can read the description to them. We’re just trying to be as accessible as possible. A lot of [retailers] wouldn’t think about it, but being in this space, it’s something we have to do,” he said.