Alva Gardner, my friend, is a recent UC Berkeley graduate starting the trend of Functional Fashion. If you don’t know what Functional Fashion is, then you’ll learn something new here. Functional Fashion is where trendy clothing items serve a variety of purposes beyond their style, facilitating daily tasks.
As a person growing up with a disability, Alva Gardner finds that most fashion doesn’t cater to people with disabilities. When you are in a wheelchair, you can’t simply access your pockets easily, since most pants have pockets by the hip. But, that is only one of the many fashion issues people with disabilities struggle with. The list goes on. After struggling to with mainstream fashion her whole life, Alva has collaborated alongside the UC Berkeley Theater design team to design templates for her ideas “geared towards people with disabilities.”
- Accessible Pants — Pants with pockets on the side of the leg, allowing quick access to items.
- The Poncho Blanket — When it rains, most wheelchair users can’t simply throw on a raincoat. The Poncho Blanket protects their wheelchair, while keeping them warm.
- Alva’s Coat – When you are in a wheelchair, long coats just feel uncomfortable, since the backside gathers on the chair. Alva came up with the idea of shortening the backside of the coat for seating comfort and added hooks to ease the process of putting the coat on.
Alva seeks to empower individuals with disabilities, allowing them to be more independent through Functional Fashion. In the future, Alva seeks to start a full fashion line to develop her accessible fashion designs.”My goal [is] to merge function with fashion, and make a line of clothing that people with disabilities could feel comfortable in and maintain their independence. As a woman growing up with a disability, I feel that one’s fashion style and how they present themselves is a huge part of their sense of self.”
Recently, Alva Gardner crowd funded $7,000 on Indiegogo to start her fashion line with prototypes. While she is still in the preliminary stages of her Functional Fashion line, Alva has already made a strong impact in the local community. You’ll be hearing a lot more about Alva Garner soon!
Alva and I collaborated to produce a promotional video for her Functional Fashion line, which you can see here. Please share and help support Alva’s goal!