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Chicago fashion student designing clothes for people with disabilities, autism

A fashion student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is designing clothes for people with autism and disabilities.

Ali Kushner is trying to create a more inclusive community through her spring collection, which used scraps and shreds from other projects to make clothes that are easier to put on and more comfortable to wear. 

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“I think if we bring these thoughts to everyday fashion we’ll be able to accommodate a wider range of people,” Kushner said. “I saw a lot of reports about how disabled people were struggling to find clothing that fit them, or if they could find clothing that was made for their bodies, it was extremely expensive.”

Her clothes skip the zippers, which can be difficult to use. She keeps in mind that when you’re in a wheelchair, the rise in the back and front can feel differently than if you’re walking around. And she knows that uncomfortable fabrics can be an issue for some people with autism.

For the feature piece of her runway collection, called a monumental train, she worked with the Chicago nonprofit “Envision Unlimited” which enlists the help of developmentally disabled artists.

“The whole project took about six artists and three months and you can really tell they put all their heart and soul into this,” she said.

Kushner hopes that her work inspires major fashion brands and helps people feel more comfortable in everyday life.

“I want them to look at a piece of clothing and say: ‘I want to put that on every day for the rest of my life,'” she said.

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