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Beyond stereotypes: a lingerie that is accessible

We read more and more about the harmful, polluting effects of textile manufacturing and textile waste generated by the fashion industry. Little is mentioned, however, about its exclusionary aspects—an issue addressed passionately by Lili Pázmány, who has pushed the boundaries of fashion and shown many times how to create pieces of clothing that are stylish yet respectful of social diversity. This time, the designer has created more than just a functional set of clothes: in her new lingerie project, barrier-free clothing comes with an attractive, sensual look.

Lili Pázmány strongly believes that as a fashion designer, she can make positive changes and spark important conversations. It was at the start of the pandemic that she decided to pursue her research into inclusive or accessible fashion at a postgraduate course at Central Saint Martin’s in London. She is currently based in London: the local environment and art scene have also influenced Lili’s latest project.

This is not the first time the designer has tackled the issue of accessible fashion. “I believe it is my mission to create garments that overcome stereotypes and break down barriers, making fashion accessible to all,” she says. Her degree project at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design was also designed with disabled people in focus: a streetwear-style outfit collection of denim, which can be combined in five different ways, completed with different mobility elements.

“My mother has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. She inspires me to design for all body types and is the driving force behind all my work. The fashion industry tends to design for a standard, upright figure: because they don’t usually see the problem up-close, most designers, unfortunately, don’t bother to meet the clothing requirements of people with physical disabilities. My relationship with my mother and my deep understanding of her needs shape my decisions, from the design of the pattern lines to the execution and how I communicate my ideas,” she says. After seeing and experiencing how much a well-designed garment could help her mother, she decided to continue her research and collaborative design with people with disabilities. As a result, she has created a new accessible lingerie project with a layered design that makes it suitable for streetwear.

A friend of mine who uses a wheelchair, Katalin Varga, mentioned that she would really like to wear attractive, accessible clothes—a category of clothing that is very hard to find on the market today. After talking to other wheelchair users, I learned that many people wanted this piece of clothing. Not only are they looking for functional, easy-to-wear pieces, but it is important that the wearer also feels confident, independent and empowered,” Lili pointed out.

As Lili added, “the words disability and sexuality are never mentioned together,” so the basic concept of her project is to make the image of people with physical disabilities more powerful and attractive. The lingerie set responds to the movements involved in the dressing process of people with mobility impairments, bearing in mind the specificities of dressing and undressing in a seated position when designing the pattern lines. As the fasteners on standard underwear make it difficult to put it on and take it off, Lili has replaced them with magnetic fasteners in her own design, simplifying and facilitating the process of dressing independently. Furthermore, the garment’s distinctive modular design allows the wearer to adapt the pieces to a specific body shape and wear them in multiple layers, even as streetwear.

Lili also paid attention to using skin-friendly, comfortable and timeless fabrics, so she chose elastic and organic ones. The garment also visually communicates the concept and the idea behind it: its unicolor, red hue emphasizes confidence—a choice inspired by London’s art scene. As Lili was developing the product amidst the restrictions of the pandemic, she consulted with her disabled models via video calls to help with the design process.

The good news is that the designer’s lingerie set is available for pre-order now and can be tailored to meet anyone’s specific needs. In the future, Lili would also like to start her own brand, where she would use an inclusive design approach to create collections that respond to different social issues.

Lili Pázmány | Instagram

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