by guest writer Lydia Wilkins.
When it comes to being on the Autistic spectrum, a ‘staple’ item for many is that of the humble hoodie. They are often a sensory friendly item, easy to put on, and require little skill — always a bonus when it comes to having executive functioning challenges.
Stream lining some processes, such as getting dressed in the morning, can really help. Plus, this also saves precious energy, too. You may be aware of the ‘spoon method’ — but this is quite a popular energy metric within the Autism community.
There are signs of spring being on the way. You may have noticed the occasional patches of sun shining through; there are daffodils, bluebells, and so many other flowers, too. With that in mind, we have put together a mini guide of hoodies, in Spring colours, from Autism friendly brands.
Born Anxious is a firm favourite of many, although the brand is still fairly young. Run by parent Kellie Croft, the idea behind this brand is to be sensory friendly — such as by using soft fabrics and textures, having no dastardly label that will cause sensory havoc, and using suitable colours.
While there are many different ages and demographics catered for — including school children — the ‘Advocate’ hoodie is set to be a seasonal favourite. Because fashion needs to be accessible — so who says we miss out on prints, as seen here?
Plus, one pound from each hoodie is donated to Macmillan. You can also choose your hashtag colour. And you can get your child a matching hoodie, too!
And if you need to remind someone you have an exemption from wearing masks — as Autistic people are — you can help yourself to a range of merchandise here. The Snack Bitch sweater is pretty great, too.
We are all pretty familiar with the topic of Neurodiversity, what it means, and how this intersects with our lifestyles, are we not? I love this concept (largely), as it has a suggestion of being rebellious, of difference being celebrated, rather than scorned. Difference is something beautiful — and we should be making more of point of celebrating this.
ND Renegade is a brand that I found by accident, via Instagram — and I fell in love. It feels almost akin to a ‘duty’ to tell you more about this brand.
Founded by a husband and wife team, ND Renegade has the value of Neurodiversity at its core; there are no freaking puzzle piece symbols in sight! (Is it really too much to ask for? Not really. This brand is just right for the twenty-first century.) The founders have two Neurodivergent children — one who is Autistic — and this brand came out of that.
All the clothing on offer has a slogan, or a motif related to Neurodiversity.
Plus, the brand also has several different ethical ‘values’ — such as producing sustainable clothing. Orders are only created to the demand — so nothing will go to landfill. The inks used are also eco-friendly, and the product ion chains also have ethical values, too.
Forgive me for being really stereotypically girly about this — but I just love the colour pink. That being said, the people behind JustAusome did point out to me that this particular hoodie is for everyone; gender is not a part of this brand.
To me, pink is a pretty colour, if ‘done right’. I usually wear it when I am feeling really happy — even if it is just a muted nail polish colour. It is also a hue I typically associate with spring, especially when it comes to flowers, my special interest.
JustAusome is a brand founded by a mother of three, who are all on the Autistic spectrum; there are values of positivity and acceptance at its core, too.
Adults and children are also both catered for, too — whereas the fashion industry can sometimes be criticised for only making clothes for one of the two.
The Adults Embroidery autumn hoodie is available in five different colours, including dusky pink and airforce blue. The brand logo, with a motto mentioning awareness and acceptance, is embroidered near the left shoulder.
It is not fun having what could be loosely termed as ‘sensory issues’; there are generally two catergories of this — sensory seekers, and sensory avoiders. You can be a ‘bit of both’; I am an avoider when it comes to sound, due to being hypersensitive and lacking a filter for sounder.
Textures are difficult; just what is all this use of lace, buttons, horrible materials?
It just does not work — and my executive functioning challenges mean I have streamlined my way of dressing, usually limiting the amount of garments I wear. (Not that I run around inappropriately.) But I love colour — and often go for bright colours, as well as limited prints in small measures. I rarely go shopping for clothes — and will bulk buy particular items that are sensory friendly, just in different colours.
It’s 2021 — and it’s time for the fashion industry to do better, to be more accessible for people like me.