How Luxury Brands Are Approaching Accessibility

If you’re one of the millions of adults who have a disability, there’s good news. Luxury brands have taken note of the need for accessibility and are adapting their products. 

It only makes sense — the more people who can benefit from their wares, the more they can sell. With that in mind, here are a few ways that luxury brands are approaching accessibility and how you can benefit.

Luxury Brands Are Approaching Accessibility in These 5 Unique Ways

1. Automakers Tackle Accessibility Challenges

Getting from point A to point B can sometimes pose issues for those who rely on mobility aids. Even though you sit down to drive, it’s challenging to transfer yourself from your wheelchair to an elevated car seat unassisted.

Today’s manufacturers include features such as Turny Evo Seats that move the vehicle chair outside and closer to the ground for easier transfer. Once seated, the user pushes a button that rotates them up and into the vehicle.

How Luxury Brands Are Approaching Accessibility

Even with modern technology, it takes more time for those with accessibility challenges to enter the vehicle — during which they risk exposure to various road hazards. However, safety features like rear-cross traffic alert and high-definition surround vision ensure the coast is clear before attempting to enter and exit. When coupled with perks like a rear entry that let you park even when the handicapped spots are full, you can enjoy unparalleled freedom even in busy lots.

The American population continues growing larger. Nearly three-quarters of American adults qualify as overweight or obese. As a result, many manufacturers now include former options like seat belt extenders as standard, making for a more comfortable ride.

Nor do you have to squeeze yourself into an embarrassingly small seat. Many typical family cars are now a foot wider and nearly double the weight of earlier models to support a growing population’s needs.

2. The Travel Industry Caters to All Ability Levels

Plus-sized people have long endured more stress while travelling by other means, not only by cars. Policies like making passengers buy a second seat ticket if they need a seat extender make the process prohibitively expensive. Assuming that they can afford the fare, they then have to worry about feeling insecure in a swimsuit once they reach the resort.

Few people want to fear their chaise lounge collapsing, and at some resorts, they no longer have to do so. Establishments like The Resort in the Bahamas cater to overweight people and create safe havens with reinforced beds and oversized doorways to let everyone enjoy the perks that some people take for granted.

Wider resort doorways also benefit those who require mobility aids. Other features that assist travellers with disabilities include keyless electronic door entry. Such pads are valuable for guests with conditions like arthritis that make manipulating old-fashioned keys challenging.

How Luxury Brands Are Approaching Accessibility

Even some municipalities are making accessibility improvements to increase tourist traffic. Upgrades such as wheelchair-accessible parks and sensory boards for autistic children lets you vacation in your hometown without spending extra to enjoy what others can indulge in for free.

3. Retailers Realize More Shoppers Mean More Profits

Retailers have long had to comply with ADA accessibility requirements regarding aisle and doorway width to make their stores accessible for all shoppers. They also shouldered a considerable burden during the pandemic to keep their shops safe for the public. However, the recent month’s events created a new problem for those who rely on peddling wares for income — doing so on the world wide web for those with visual impairments.

According to the 2016 Click Away Pound study, only 7% of people with disabilities will reach out to an organization’s customer service department if they encounter an access barrier. Less than 15% will reach out to a friend or a family member — most simply surf away to another site.

One thing that retailers can do is improve their product description pages to make them less vague. Writers should keep in mind those who cannot see when composing these blurbs and use clearly worded alt-text for images that also clarify meaning. It’s worthwhile to invest in optimizing their company website for accessibility.

4. Fashion Designers Become More Inclusive

Having different physical or mental abilities doesn’t negate your desire to look and feel your best. However, for far too many years, designers behaved as if members of the disabled community only concerned themselves with form and function, not fashion. Fortunately, innovative brands like the Tommy Adaptive line from Tommy Hilfiger offer clothing with the same stylistic details and price points as their other products.

How Luxury Brands Are Approaching Accessibility
Tommy Adaptive line from Tommy Hilfiger.

Searches for adaptive clothing increased by 80% over 2019. Features like discreet elasticated waistbands make slacks more comfortable for extended seating than bulky belt buckles. Pinch-free and magnetic fasteners help people to dress independently despite everyday challenges.

The bottom line? You no longer need to add “tailor” to your resume if you have a disability. Instead of having to modify your clothing to suit your needs, you can now find it made that way off the rack.

5. The Self-Care Industry Is More Innovative Than Ever

It doesn’t matter where you live globally — diabetes affects your body the same way in Detroit as it does in Paris. However, your access to affordable professional care may vary widely, even in a wealthy nation like the United States. That’s why DIY health gadgets for members of the disabled community serve such a vital role.

For example, if you have a heart condition, there’s nothing more terrifying than having chest pain if your health insurance coverage lapses. You know you should seek emergency care, but the economic reality of doing so makes you hesitate. You can now find home EKG devices that sync with your iPhone and can help you decide whether to call 911.

How Luxury Brands Are Approaching Accessibility

Other devices can significantly reduce chronic pain levels. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units direct safe currents to help ease muscle knots if COVID-19 has you hesitant to return to massage therapy just yet. Home fitness devices like The Mirror bring the trainer right to your living room — safely and virtually.

Luxury brands are approaching accessibility in many unique ways. As a result, members of the disabled community now have more options for fun and freedom than ever.

Oscar Collins

Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about a variety of topics, including the most recent trends in tech. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for regular updates!