Open Style Lab Plans Double Take Fashion Show for SMA Community – WWD

To emphasize the need for adaptive fashion design, the spinal muscular atrophy community partnered with nonprofit organization Open Style Lab to create a runway show called Double Take. The show will take place on February 8th at 10am at 608 Fifth Avenue in New York.

SMA is a progressive neuromuscular disease that can affect walking, dexterity and overall strength, making clothing with certain fasteners, cuts, fits and weights inaccessible.

Dedicated to everyone living with a disability, Double Take is the first fashion show to feature full participation from the SMA community, from imagining the message and collaborating on clothing designs to walking and rolling the runway ahead of New York Fashion Week .

The show aims to allow people with disabilities to occupy a space that is often closed to them, and the SMA community invites the world to do a double take, not because of their disabilities, but for their style and individuality.

Prior to the show, Open Style Lab adaptive fashion design grantees, some with disabilities themselves, worked with members of the SMA community to design and modify garments that fit the personal style and needs of each runway attendee. Garments feature hidden magnetic closures to create the look of buttons without the need to fasten. There are also stretch knit panels instead of zippers, flexible sleeves for easier wheelchair operation, and other adjustments.

Support for Double Take was provided by biotechnology company Genetech’s SMA My Way program, an initiative aimed at supporting people affected by SMA by sharing their experiences and building connections within the community. Genetech, which discovers, develops, manufactures and markets medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening diseases, is a member of the Roche Group with headquarters in South San Francisco, California.

“Thanks to Genetech’s support, Double Take gave me the opportunity to explore forward-thinking fashion designs that engage people of all abilities. I’ve worked with several people with Spinal Muscular Atrophy to create accessible garments that fit both their personality and individual needs, including Shane Burcaw, who has SMA and uses a power wheelchair. To customize a purple velvet suit for Shane, I added an invisible zipper on the back of the jacket for easier dressing and stretch panels on the elbows to allow for flexing. Matching tailored velvet pants had two layers – a comfortable L-shaped base and an interchangeable cover that fits over it,” said Andrea Saleh, Open Style Lab 2022 Fellow for Double Take.

“For a person with spinal muscular atrophy who sits all the time, suit jackets can be difficult to put on and dated, very unsexy. We ended up getting a tailored suit for our wedding and it looked great, but it was still difficult to move forward. For the Genetech-sponsored Double Take project, we worked with adaptive fashion designers to create a suit that not only looks good, but is comfortable and much easier to wear. Ultimately, Double Take is about celebrating differences, not trying to erase them. Fashion allows you to do that — embrace the things that make you different,” said Shane Burcaw, who will model on the runway with his wife Hannah.

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