Global Brands Group Holding Ltd. and the International Fashion Academy Paris have selected a design by students Leonor Schmidt Alvarez Garcillan and Mathilde De Luigi that will be manufactured by Global Brands and sold on JuniperUnltd, a content and community hub and online marketplace, later this year.
The juried design project was part of the first edition of the school’s Unthreading Project, a four-month postgraduate program focused on sustainable and inclusive design that had students create apparel specifically for people with disabilities.
Garcillan and De Luigi created their design with the intention to meet the needs of the 2.2 billion people around the world who are blind or visually impaired and to help reduce overconsumption and waste in the fashion industry. The students’ design includes a hoodie with pockets, half gloves and padded sleeves as well as elastic-waistband pants with padded legs and two pockets.
Garcillian’s and De Luigi’s goal was to “make the invisible visible,” which they achieved by building haptic and radio capabilities into the clothes.
Both the hoodie and pants have labels with the designers’ motto in Braille and a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to access an audio description of the garment and its care instructions. The labels include color, size and occasion and are always sewn into the front of the garments, so wearers can easily discern which side is which. The hood includes small interior pockets that can hold an object that functions as an audio guide and the half gloves are able to incorporate a vibration system that can help the wearer navigate outside and receive alerts when an obstacle is nearby.
The IFA Paris students participating in the Unthreading Project use upcycled materials made from excess stock donated by Global Brands portfolio companies to create adaptive clothing designs that balance creativity, wearability, sustainability and commercial appeal.
Global Brands has also supplied design technologies such as the Magna Ready and MagnaZip magnetic closures that are used in products from its own MagnaReady adaptive apparel brand. In addition, the students use digital avatars created by Li & Fung, reducing materials waste and saving resources during the design process.
JuniperUnltd, which launched last year, was created by and for the disabled, caregiver and aging communities.