Style 10 Jul
Behind the Brand: inc kid
inc kid is the ultimate brand for cool kids who want to dress independently. Designed and made in Australia, inc kid clothes are empowering kids of all abilities to ditch the labels and embrace their own style. Let’s explore how inc kid is shaking up the adaptive fashion market:
What was the inspiration behind inc kid?
inc kid was born out of a personal need.
Our struggle to find ‘nice’ pants that fit over AFOs meant we were always running late in the mornings, and the rise of skinny leg pants made getting dressed in winter a nightmare. Daycare teachers would also struggle to get the AFO and pants back on at naptime.
At the same time, we also struggled to get jumpers on and off. The tight sleeve holes, restrictive head holes, and tight ribbing at the sleeves meant arms would constantly get stuck, and we battled with tears every day.
Although self-dresing was an OT goal, it felt impossible with the current clothes available on the market. So when a daycare teacher suggested, “You need bigger pants”, we decided to make it happen. From there, inc kid was born.
What is the mission behind the brand?
Our mission is to make dressing easier for all kids; to build confidence and autonomy through our adaptive elements and cool fashion. Above all, inc kid is inclusive and doesn’t define kids by labels.
Much of the adaptive clothing available on the market is very functional, but lacks the cool factor, thus further accentuating challenges that some of our customers face.
inc kid clothes aim to look like cool clothes with discreet adaptive features for inclusivity. For example, our jeans have leg openings sewn into a deliberately placed seam so the adaptive element is incredibly discreet.
In the nature of inclusivity, our clothes are gender-neutral, which also provides longevity as clothes can be lovingly passed down from child to child.
Our clothes are designed to be worn by all kids and caters for orthotics; prosthetics and splint wearers; kids with dexterity challenges; muscle weakness or tightness; large head circumferences or other.
We pride ourselves on the fact that many of our customers who face some of these challenges have siblings that want to wear inc kid also.
Science has proven that clothes make you feel good through the notion of ‘enclothed cognition’. If kids feel good because they can dress themselves, be comfy, and actually look good too, then they will inevitably ooze confidence and feel included.
What are the main challenges that kids face when it comes to self-dressing, and how are inc kid’s clothes designed to help overcome these challenges?
Getting jumpers on & off is a big challenge for most kids. The head holes and sleeves are both spots where body parts can get ‘stuck.’ Usually, it’s because of the size of the opening (i.e. too small) and the ribbing (i.e. too tight) that causes this issue.
The seam at the shoulder (where the sleeve joins the body) is another problem-spot as it can get quite tight. inc kid clothes have removed all these problem areas. Our jumpers feature large neck openings, expandable wide sleeves, and no ribbing! We have removed shoulder seams and included more space in the shoulder area for arms to push through. Because fabric, seams, and tags can irritate many kids, we don’t compromise on quality. We only use super stretchy and soft 100% cotton to reduce irritation and sweat for comfort and ease of dressing. All inc kid jumpers are tag-free and some styles include external seams as a design feature to avoid irritation.
Pants & Jeans
Pants & jeans are tricky for so many reasons!
Firstly, having the coordination to get feet into tiny openings at the base of the pant - especially in the era of skinny leg pants - is tough.
Then comes the ‘pulling up’ part. Kids who wear orthotics or prosthetics have the extra challenge of fitting pants over them. Openings such as buttons at the waist often can’t be managed without assistance. And, of course, comfort and ease of movement is also a concern - many kids simply refuse to wear jeans as they are too thick, un-comfy and inhibit movement.
inc kid jeans overcome these challenges by incorporating big openings at the leg so that it is easy to push legs through and to fit orthotics/ prosthetics. We designed our jeans to include big chunky handles outside the elastic waist to make it easy to pull up, as well as small loops inside the waist to help little hands grip.
Our elastic waists ensure no buttons need to be done up and encourage autonomy. After much research and feedback from families and therapists, we also incorporated zips at the leg to ensure nothing will get caught on play equipment (e.g. magnets) or attract nasties (e.g. large strips of velcro) whilst playing in the park. By placing the zip inside the leg (like a women’s boot) with an easily visible bright yellow tab, kids are encouraged to pull zips up themselves. The yellow tabs are wide and flat for easy grip and no-slip. A range of zip pulls are also available to accommodate various abilities such as finger isolation or grip strength.
The denim fabric used in inc kid jeans is specially washed to achieve a super soft feel. It is the stretchiest denim available on the market and, combined with the drop crotch, enables ease of movement and extreme comfort. An added bonus of the drop crotch is that it accommodates nappies too - a function that is nearly impossible with jeans.
All of inc kid’s clothes are ‘therapist-endorsed.’ Could you explain what this means?
Simply put, ‘therapist endorsed’ means that therapists support and agree that inc kid clothes include adaptive features to make dressing easier for kids.
Many families that face the challenges of getting dressed often work with paediatric occupational therapists and physiotherapists for strengthening, coordination, and to learn how to self-dress. So, for us, it was a non-negotiable to work with therapists to develop features that make dressing easier for kids of varying abilities.
We spent a lot of time with paediatric occupational therapists at Child First Therapy led by Prue Nix’s and her team, as well as paediatric physiotherapist, Eliza Cavalleto, to create and refine the perfect features in our clothes.
We then tested these clothes on families and kids. Both therapists and kids signed off on these as the perfect solutions, and endorsed our clothes!
Since our launch, many paediatric therapists around the world, such as US-founded NAPA centre, Therapies for Kids, and numerous rehabilitation centres have endorsed inc kid on their platforms & communities. They all agree that our clothes hit the nail on the head!
Inc kid’s clothes are also gender-neutral. Why is it important for the brand to offer gender-neutral clothes to children?
To inc kid, inclusivity is in our DNA. This is our own personal ethos, how we approach parenting and life in general. We don’t like putting labels on anyone whether it be related to ability, race, religion or gender or other. Labels create preconceptions and expectations that people are defined by. Therefore, it was important for our clothes to be gender-neutral. This allows kids to tell their own story and bring out their own personal style. This way our clothes can also be passed down and live a long life.
What advice would you give to parents who are struggling to help their kids dress independently?
Our advice would be to look for:
Clothes made with natural, stretchy materials to reduce irritation and sweat
Big neck openings in tops
Loose-fitting clothing, or go a size up to avoid irritation and avoid limbs and heads getting stuck
Sleeves without ribbing so hands don’t get stuck and access to splints and casts are enabled
Tops without hoods so heads don’t get stuck
Pants with drawstrings or elastics
Pants with wide-leg or stretchy leg holes
Darker or neutral colours to style easily with an existing wardrobe and to avoid clothes getting dirty
What’s next for inc kid? (Eg. launching new collection, expanding to different countries etc)
We are working on some new designs for summer and are starting research for our next range.
Currently inc kid is accessible to self or plan managed NDIS customers if they have a low-cost assistive technology (AT) budget with an appropriate allowance. The next phase is to explore becoming an NDIS provider.
"Since we launched inc kid in April, we have had many proud moments and so many tears of joy."
Our lovely customer, Casey, purchased our Treasure Jumper for her son, Will. Beforehand, Will struggled to wear regular jumpers as he couldn’t fit his head through the small head holes. His arms would get stuck in the tight shoulder seams, and his fingers and hands would be caught in the ribbing on the ends of the sleeves. It was also impossible to fit the sleeves over his splint/arm casts. Pants were also a challenge as they couldn’t fit over his AFOs.
Then, Casey discovered inc kid on Instagram and decided to purchase the Treasure Jumper, Button Jumper, and our Buggy Jeans. With these, Will was finally able to self-undress for the first time ever! This led to him feeling a huge sense of pride and accomplishment and led to tears of joy for the entire family.
Since then, Will and his family have our jumpers and jeans on rotation. Will is now able to fit pants over his AFOs, use the inc kid U-pulls and pull tabs to easily pull up zips, and he can self-dress without getting stuck!
Will’s story is just one out of a dozen incredible testimonials we’ve received from other families. Lola, a wheelchair-bound girl, and Isabella Lombardo, also experienced the ability to self-dress with our jumpers. “This is a big thing for a wheel-chair bound child,” says Lola’s mum.
Many customers have said that our clothes are “literally life-changing” and “game-changers.” We’re so thrilled that we have been able to help many kids and families with diverse needs.
Until Next Time,