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U of Missouri project developing disabled-friendly formal wear

A project at the University of Missouri could make it easier for people with disabilities to go to weddings and other formal events without discomfort or embarrassment. The MU researchers behind a project to create formal wear for disabled people say they have received a grant to continue their work.

Most people want to be a part of life’s public rituals, such as weddings, school dances and so on. But people who have lost a limb, or use a wheelchair or other medical device, often find that the clothing available for such events does not accommodate their needs. Unfortunately, their current options could include wearing clothing that does not fit properly, go to the event underdressed, or not go at all.

That is the problem that the MU researchers hope to solve. They began their work in 2012, designing formal wear that they hope will combine style with function and comfort. More than 80 students have participated since the project began.

One of those students noted that many people with disabilities need clothing that allows access to medical devices. Men and women who use a wheelchair need clothes that breathe and are comfortable, she added. There are a lot of people who could use clothing designed to accommodate their disabilities, but still look good -- to project “the best version of themselves,” as the student volunteer said.

Now the project will be able to continue in 2014, thanks to a Richard Wallace Faculty Incentive Research Grant that the researchers were recently awarded.

Source: Columbia Business Times, “MU researchers receive grant to design clothing for disabled individuals,” Sarah Redohl, Dec. 18, 2013

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