What would you do if your favourite piece of clothing gave you problems because of your ever-changing needs? Timothy, a product designer, knew there had to be a solution.
Timothy has Muscular Dystrophy and is dependent on his caregivers for dressing. He has had his favourite jacket for many years, but the long sleeves made it difficult for his caregivers to dress him and the lack of friction also caused his elbows to slip when using the computer. Timothy also started using a bilevel airway pressure (BiPAP) generator – a ventilator device over his head to facilitate his breathing – which hindered him from wearing the hoodie over his head and made him self-conscious about how it looked.
After hearing about Will & Well from his peers and visiting one of our pop-ups last year, Timothy reached out to engage our customisation service for his jacket. He knew what adaptations he wanted, and we were happy to provide our technical expertise to explore new solutions.
Timothy wanted his jacket to keep his body warm when he needed it and without hindering his workflow. With that in mind, we applied the functional design from our Convertible Cargo Pants to his jacket sleeves – making them detachable and easily convertible between long and short sleeves.
(above) Using the new magnetic buttons around the sleeve of the hoodie, making them easily detachable and convertible between long and short sleeves.
(above) Timothy looking happy in his newly redesigned hoodie.
To make the dressing process easier for Timothy’s caregivers, we used magnetic buttons instead of a zipper or Velcro to connect the sleeves. These magnetic buttons are a new technology we had been exploring while researching solutions for another project, similar to but unlike our usual MagSnap buttons. The new mechanics worked well – making it almost effortless for his caregiver to attach and detach the sleeves. The magnetic buttons also did their job of keeping the sleeves in place.
Fashion with Dignity
As Timothy’s ventilator device consists of tubing over the top of his head, he couldn’t wear the hood of his jacket as it was. Thus, we created an opening at the top of the hoodie and used the same magnetic buttons on the sleeves, allowing the hood to wrap around the tube. Now, the hood could simply be snapped into place over Timothy’s head!
(above) Elisa sharing her ideas for the redesign of Timothy's hoodie.
(above) The new magnetic buttons used on the hood of Timothy's jacket.
(above) The redesigned hood stylishly wrapped around the ventilation tube on Timothy's head to look like a regular hoodie.
(above) The redesigned hood lays flat against Timothy's back when not being worn over his head.
Moreover, because of how we had dissected the top part of the hood, it now lay flat across Timothy’s back when put down. A small detail that goes a long way in terms of comfort – the hood no longer bunches up uncomfortably against his back when he is not wearing it.
Timothy also mentioned that he was very influenced by street styles, so what we did for him was really to his liking! He could now wear his hoodie over his ventilator with style and dignity.
New Challenges, New Solutions
As with other problem statements we received, Timothy’s request came with new challenges that we have not tackled before. We did not know how it would turn out, but we were thankful both parties were pleased with the final solutions.
(above) Elisa (left) and Timothy with big smiles after trying on the redesigned hoodie.
One of our memorable takeaways was seeing Timothy’s caregivers being very excited about the solution too! The convertible sleeves made helping Timothy wear a jacket much easier than before, as they now only had to put his hands through a shorter sleeve. Thoughtful design can bring relief and comfort to not only the wearer, but also the people around them.
Meeting different people with different requests and creating new solutions for them is an exciting part of what we do. We are very thankful to continue serving others and making an impact!
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