The idea for Aaraam Se, which is Hindi for ‘with ease’, was born of a suggestion made by a friend. “When the big players came in and took over the fashion market space, I was looking for alternative ideas”, says Ashima. “Someone suggested adaptive clothing and I thought ‘Wow’, it’s a market that no one thought of”.
Major Indian fashion brands ignore needs of PwD
Something Lalit Gambhir, who is based in Gurugram, feels strongly about. “There is a huge vacuum when it comes to adaptive wear”. Lalit’s brother, who is 52 years old, has mental retardation (MR), an outcome of a meningitis attack he suffered as a baby. “My brother lives with me and I am constantly struggling for everything from clothes to diapers”, says Lalit, who has reached out to Ashima for some of his needs. “I have no idea how disabled people and their caregivers in India manage. There are so many challenges. I feel we are the most irresponsible country in the world as far as people with disabilities are concerned”.
Aaraam Se offers customised designs
“The need for such wear hits you hard when one realises the vast number of people who are just not considered”, adds Ashima. She wants to build a platform on social media where people with disabilities can share their clothing needs. “I want to throw this open to the public and this can help create empathy”, she adds.
Among the people Ashram is working with to develop new designs is Vipin Janardhanan. Vipin, 39 years old, lives in Bengaluru and has cerebral palsy. “I am so happy that Ashima is looking into this. For instance, I struggle with wearing socks and it takes me a long time to wear them on my own. It’s high time the needs of people with disabilities are looked into”.