Published: 30th September 2020
Check out this Kochi designer's adaptive clothing brand, exclusively made for the disabled and elderly
The clothing brand Aaraam Se was launched during the lockdown. Each piece of clothing is custom-made here
True to her name, Rani sat like a queen. Only this time, a instead of a throne, she sat in a wheelchair. The old woman's face brimmed with confidence — she looked happy in her new black nightie. Rani has restrictive mobility and this is probably the first time in a while that she put on a piece of clothing with this much ease. The nightie is open at the back and has buttons on both shoulders, making it easy to slip on. It was custom-made by Kochi designer Ashima Bhan, who has come up with a new brand of clothing called Aaraam se, exclusively for the elderly and disabled.
Aaraam se literally translates to 'with ease' — indicating the ease it allows its wearers. Ashima admits that it is the way in which she works. "I don't rush into things, instead I take time," she says. The designer's brand is quite new and is something of a lockdown project. "I love my job of designing clothes for women, but after a point, it got pretty repetitive. That was when a friend, during a casual conversation, brought up the topic of adaptive clothing," she says.
"I hadn't given it a lot of thought until then. But I realised that the world over, it was a developing industry," Ashima admits. Each bit of clothing here is custom-made, keeping in mind the disability that the customer has. "No two disabilities are the same. So, there is no 'one size fits all' solution here," she says.
Ashima says that she has, until now, received quite positive feedback from the caregivers. "Mostly, these clothes are for people confined to a certain space and has limited mobility. Often it is difficult to move them, so these clothes are made in a way that they don't have to struggle so much to put it on. Also, the material ensures that they don't get sores too," she says. The clothes are made out of locally sourced rayon viscose.
The clothes are quite vibrant, which is a conscious decision. "Everyone deserves to wear clothes that make them look and feel good," says Ashima. At the same time, they are quite comfortable too. Ashima tells us how her daughter has started wearing these clothes these days.