Runway of Dreams Inspires Adaptive Clothing for Children with Disabilities


We’ve heard all about the negatives in the fashion industry: questionable sustainability, child labor, lack of model diversity on the runway. But as we’re “glass half full” kinda gals over here, we’d like to think that there is at least one humanity-restoring moment in the fashion world for every faux pas. Enter: Runway of Dreams Foundation. This Livingston, New Jersey non-profit organization created by designer and #NJMOM, Mindy Scheier, makes stylish adaptive clothing for people with disabilities – taking the meaning of fashion-meets-function to another level.

Runway of Dreams helps close the gap for people with different abilities

When Mindy realized her son, who has Muscular Dystrophy, couldn’t work the zippers and buttons on jeans, but still wanted to dress like his friends, she turned her 20 years of fashion design experience into a world of good by launching Runway of Dreams Foundation in 2014. She began integrating wearable technology and design modifications into clothing to make it easier for differently-abled people to adapt to everyday functions like getting dressed that able-bodied people take for granted. Not only is Mindy a pioneer of adaptive clothing, her organization also works to promote inclusivity and acceptance of differently-abled people in the fashion industry; they help book their own group of models with disabilities for fashion campaigns.

“Clothing can empower, clothing can create confidence, clothing can make a difference.” – Mindy Scheier, 2016.

Runway of Dreams works with the industry to make fashion inclusive

We couldn’t even find research readily available about the representation of people with disabilities on magazine covers, much less on the runway since it’s just that rare – which makes it that much cooler to see a local New Jersey organization helping to close the gap. Runway of Dreams’s mission is supported by top retailers and brands like Tommy Hilfiger, which Mindy first partnered with on the brand’s Spring 2016 adaptive kids collection. The partnership marked the first time a global fashion brand modified its apparel to accommodate the needs of the differently-abled community. Modifications include replacing traditional fasteners with hidden magnetic closures to make getting dressed easier – it’s so, so brilliant that we’re kinda wondering why this isn’t universal in clothing for all kids under the age of say, four?

Want to help empower people with disabilities?

There are several ways you can support Runway of Dreams Foundation:

  1. Donate online here.
  2. Donate by mail here.

Your monetary donation enables Runway of Dreams Foundation to develop, deliver, and support charitable programs that break down stereotypes and empower people with disabilities with confidence, independence, and style through a movement of inclusion in the fashion industry.

We love this commitment to innovation for an underserved community of people. Let us know what you think in the comments!


About Author

Mom to three boys under age six, Jamie is a creative spirit who prefers wildflowers to roses, and is a self-proclaimed Chinese food snob (because nothing is as good as Mom and Dad’s). When she and her husband are not throwing darts on a map to pick their next family destination (hence how they’ve landed in Russia, Iceland and Malta), she enjoys wandering around at home on Princeton’s ivy-covered campus. She’s obsessed with things that have a good story and is a sucker for good packaging (read: hoarder for pretty candles).