Clothing brand The Shapes United has become the first Australian adaptive fashion label to be sold online through US retailer, Walmart, introduced on US National Disability Independence Day, July 26.
Shaped United founder and disability advocate Penny Weber told F2L Walmart was keen to strengthen its presence in the adaptive clothing sector.
“There were many people who told me it couldn’t be done, or there wasn’t a market for adaptive clothing,” Weber said. “To have the world’s leading retailer acknowledge my business and see the value in it, is a dream come true.
“Walmart selected three Shapes United brands to showcase their adaptive ranges, that have been made by and with people with lived experience. In my case, the products were developed from my experience with limited mobility caused by a life changing event. The sensory range comes from my post- operative experience, where standard tags, zips and seams were irritating my skin and causing discomfort.”
Weber, who previously managed recording artists, had a serious car accident in 2009.
Shapes United is sold online locally and discussions with retailers is a “work in progress.”
The Shapes United range is designed for children and adults with disability or mobility impairments. All clothes feature adaptations such as wider necklines, hook and loop closures, are tag-free, with flat seams in sizes ranging from X-small to 3XL. There is also a range for those who are seated with garments that are high at the back and low at the front.
A new collection of bespoke suits for men and women will be released in September followed by a new range of accessories in 2024.
Weber said she gets lots of feedback from people, particularly at the ATSA expos, with suggestions about what they would like to wear. “We recently introduced iron-on pockets in different colours and fabrics that can be added to fashion clothing.”
After working with the Remarkable startup accelerator in 2021, a division of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, she found there was a need in the market for a diverse range of clothing options that were more inclusively designed.
The clothes are available on the TSU Online shop and through Averee, Hello Good World, Better That and The Iconic.