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Polartec and Open Style Lab Show There Are No Limits With Apparel

Polartec and Open Style Lab are collaborating again on an exclusive program that advocates for better inclusion in the fashion industry.

The textile solutions provider said the Open Style Lab summer program, a research program that connects designers, engineers and occupational therapists to establish wearable solutions for people with disabilities, has reached its peak.

Now in its third year, the program tackles this overlooked market with an interdisciplinary approach. Thirteen student fellows were paired with four clients to create stylish and functional garments that worked with their specific needs. In the process, the program promotes a more diverse fashion industry and demonstrates that clothes are not confined to a particular shopper demographic.

“Function and style cannot coexist in adaptive wear without understanding studies in fiber science, apparel design, creative coding, or therapy,” Open Style Lab executive director Grace Jun said. “Polartec’s knowledge and resources of advanced fibers provide a fundamental step for the fellows when selecting materials to begin creating wearable solutions.”

The four wearable solutions include a temperature controlled suit, a zip back jacket, a multi-seasonal versacoat and a seamless shirt. Suitable is a thermally-adaptive sports coat that features openable front flaps for ventilation and magnetic closures for unlimited movement. The zip back jacket is wearable throughout multiple seasons and provides full-body coverage. Versacoat is a convertible outwear garment which doubles as a raincoat and suit jacket. Seamless and breathable, the “Ease” shirt prevents unraveling and works for all types of physical activity.

“Open Style Lab takes this innovation further by creating wearable solutions for people who have specific needs not currently met by the market,” Polartec North American marketing manager Darren Josey said. “Because of the creative ways they use our fabrics and the purpose behind it, they’ve become one of our most important partners.”

Final presentations for the project will be given on Oct. 1 at the Museum of Science in Boston.