This label designs clothes exclusively for the differently-abled and elderly

Aaraam Se designs clothes exclusively for the differently-abled and elderly, who are rarely the target group for mainstream fashion

author_img Krishna P S Published :  27th January 2022 12:46 PM   |   Published :   |  27th January 2022 12:46 PM
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Aaraam Se designs clothes exclusively for the differently-abled and elderly, who are rarely the target group for mainstream fashion

KOCHI: For many differently-abled people, finding clothes that fit them, are comfortable and will not restrict their movement is hard. When designer Ashima Bhan found out about this, she had the idea to start the brand Aaraam Se. Ashima, who is well-known among Kochiites, ventured into adaptable clothing in 2020, during the first lockdown.

“Adaptable clothing is a niche area. Not many designers try to make clothes that suit the needs of everyone, especially differently-abled people. However, there are many such options in western countries like Canada and the US. I researched about such designs before starting Aaraam Se,” says Ashima.  

Her designs are customised to suit her customer’s needs, and each solution varies according to the problem. “My first customer was from Coimbatore. A girl who needed night clothes for her bed-ridden mother. She was tired of moving her mother around or lifting her each time she has to be dressed. It was difficult for both of them. So, I designed a slip-on garment with easy hooks,” she says.

If pulling pants up is difficult for someone who has to wear formals to work every day, Aaram Se has designs with pull up loops. “It is not the perfect solution, but it helps a bit,” she says. 

Most of her customers are elderly people who needed comfortable clothing without many buttons. Ashima uses easy snap buttons to help people with arthritis. Some clothes can be worn sitting down, pants with velcro closing instead of a zipper are more. “Though velcro loses its stickiness with many washes, it helps dress some people dress up on their own,” Ashima says.

“As each person’s needs are different, I need to speak to each customer and find out what they will be comfortable with, what fabric they need etc. Bedridden people may have feeding tubes. Others may need clothes that can be worn without moving their limbs,” Ashima says. That is why Aaraam Se only has basic designs that can be customised rather than a collection.

Aaraam Se currently has made customised designs for 15 people. “Some have become repeat customers. Currently, I’m designing adaptive formal pants for a person suffering from muscular sclerosis. He is slowly losing movement of his limbs. It’s not yet ready, I am researching ways to make a comfortable design now,” Ashima says, adding that sometimes people are hesitant to come forward and share their requirements.

The growth

Aaraam Se’s growth was gradual. “When I started, I couldn’t order clothes from outside because of the lockdown. I went to Broadway and brought viscose rayon fabric and started working on it. That was the start. Now, I provide the fabric that is suitable for each customer. The growth is very organic, especially since there wasn’t a lot of marketing from my side,” she says. Ashima manages the designing, marketing and daily operations of both Aaraam Se and her eponymous label.

“I have a website for Aaraam Se and it is being completed. On the brand’s Instagram page, I have included many of my designs,” she says. Ashima also says there should be a conversation in society about adaptable designs. “If I hadn’t started Aaraam Se, I wouldn’t have even known about such a concept. Earlier, I wasn’t aware that many in our society may need designs that are comfortable for them. Debates and awareness in this regard will go a long way,” she adds.

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