Kazakh Fashion Designers Launch Country’s First Clothing Line for People with Special Needs

ASTANA – The Light Industry Enterprises Association has released its first collection of clothing for people with special needs in partnership with the Ministry of Healthcare as part of the Adaptive Clothing and Shoes project.

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“Prior to the designing and production of clothes, we conducted a survey among people with limited abilities to determine their preferences and wishes. Special focus was made on simplicity, functionality and comfort. Our first collection named ‘Colours of Autumn’ features five models of casual wear, business and sports styles,” Lyubov Khudova, president of the Light Industry Enterprises Association said at a Jan. 11 press conference.

According to her, this is the first mass production of comfortable clothing and shoes for the physically challenged in Kazakhstan. Comfortable adaptive clothing for wheelchair users and people with limited abilities will be manufactured at local ateliers.

“The association consists of 114 enterprises manufacturing all types of knitwear and producing leather shoes and fur clothing. Companies and designers are willing to manufacture special clothes under the special project,” Khudova added.

flickr.com Lyubov Khudova

Lyubov Khudova

Approximately 770,000 adults and children with limited abilities live in Kazakhstan. While creating new clothing line, designers took into account features of wheelchair users making clothes comfortable, easy to put on and fashionable. The new clothing line offers functional dresses and can satisfy the needs of people suffering cerebral palsy, visual impairment and elderly people.

“We are going to open stores in Astana and Almaty. Now we are developing an online shop to offer clothing for persons with limited abilities throughout Kazakhstan. We want to attract public attention to our new clothing store. We did not receive any state order yet, however, we hope for fruitful cooperation with large companies,” Khudova admitted.

Designers offer high-quality clothes made of soft, elastic knitted fabrics using special functional details at affordable prices.

“People need simple and comfortable clothing. Of course, we considered the pricing policy in the internet market for the same products from Germany, the U.S. and Russia. We will have a different price range. For example, the average price of an imported jumper is 20,000 tenge (US$60.46). In Kazakhstan, the price will be 6,000 tenge (US$18.13). We believe that it is quite an acceptable price,” Khudova pointed out.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 15 percent of the world’s population has some form of disability. Designers believe that clothing should fit their needs and meet requirements. In general, clothing for people with special needs only became available in the world market recently. There are about 200 producers of such clothes in the world. Most of these companies operate in Germany, Russia and the U.S. In Kazakhstan, the Light Industry Enterprises Association became the first to start creating a fashion line for people with limited abilities.

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“Now, people with limited abilities are socially active people engaged almost in all spheres. They are involved in sports and participate in competitions. I think this project is relevant and people are certainly interested in wearing comfortable clothes,” Dina Yerdildinova, chair of Public Association of People with Limited Abilities DOS Independent Life Centre, told The Astana Times.

In addition, Yerdildinova spoke about the DOS Art project launched last year by the centre. Musical and choreographic group DOS Art intends to bring challenged people to cultural and social life. Here one can learn singing, dancing in wheelchairs and playing musical instruments.

“Our organisation agreed with the Kazakh Light Industry Enterprises Association on designing and manufacturing dresses for the DOS Art team’s performances,” she said.