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Applied Research Impact Case 3

Students' Fashion Design for the Physically Impaired

Ms Alice Chu, Faculty of Design and Environment


Many disabled people have difficulties finding the budget and comfortable apparels that do not hinder their movement. Previous research showed that a lack of functional and well-fitted clothes could make disabled people feel excluded during job search or social activities. Attention has been given to their needs in recent years. There are a number of international brands, such as Nike and Tommy Hilfiger, targeting their designs for the disabled market. Despite the growing concern of some brands, only limited options are available for this group of people.


In this regard, THEi design students were motivated to create fashion pieces for the physically impaired. They gained invaluable experience while working with their disabled models who had specific needs and backgrounds. During the process, the students were teamed up with a professional designer, who acted as their mentor for exchanging ideas, comments, technical support, and inspiration.


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Exhibition of the creative outfits in D2 Place and Detour Tram in September 2017


The creative outfits which reflected what the models had longed for, were showcased to the public at a catwalk show during the closing ceremony held at the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Social Inclusion Carnival. Participation in the fashion show helped build up the self-confidence of disabled people and promote social inclusion to the public to minimize inequality.



 Care & Dare 2017: FashionABLED won the "Best Local Community Empowerment Program" at JCI World Congress in Amsterdam last November 2017


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 Care & Dare 2017 FashionABLED awarded the "Best Community Empowerment Program" at the 52nd National Convention of JCI Hong Kong


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 Catwalk show at the closing ceremony of the Social Inclusion Carnival Day


The event successfully called the attention of local students studying in fashion design as well as fashion designers to care for the special needs of disabled people. It encouraged fashion designers to develop cost-effective production line for this group of people, and to provide barrier-free shopping experience in retail stores. Through interacting with disabled people, THEi students foster positive and optimistic attitudes towards life. The community also becomes more concerned about the importance of social equality through the promotion of this meaningful event.