Mindy Shcheier, CEO of Gamut Management, has been at the forefront of Adaptive clothing for over five years. She began with Tommy Hilfiger's Tommy Adaptive and now has several major brands, such as Target, Kohl's, Sephora, JC Penny, Zappos, and the iconic Victoria's Secret and Pink have joined. In 2022, I received an email to be part of the Wear Test for Victoria's Secret for women with various disabilities. I know you are staying to yourself, but you are young; I, too, have a voice for the Autistic community.
Yes, I can function, but what goes unnoticed within the Autism community is our sensory issues. Pink has been a signature brand for me; I tried several sports bras and bras before my mom gave up and finally took me to Pink. The material didn't feel good, the metal clips were uncomfortable, and the clipping in the back made me very uncomfortable. So yes, I was excited I could voice my opinion and see changes made to help not just myself but the millions of women with a disability.
Once opening the first package, my mom yelled, "Where was this when I was pregnant? This would have made my life easier instead of peeing on myself." For a second, I thought she was going crazy until she explained because I was sitting on her bladder, she has to pee a lot, and this magnetic underwear would have been more accessible to rip off instead of trying to pull down on the underwear.
Even though the instructions were specific, I kicked it up a notch. I am an athlete, so I wore underwear to training. I wore it for three training sessions, where I flipped, jumped, and ran without issues. I was mainly on the beams and bars; the underwear never shifted nor made me uncomfortable. The material against my skin felt great. If you didn't know, gymnasts use a spray called butt glue or leotard glue to hold their leotards in place. This underwear passed the test without any butt glue.
Another thing that I loved about the first underwear was that it came with two magnet placements. My mom said, "They grow with you; you are still growing; these will take a while before I purchase new ones." The second underwear I received was even better; the material was great against my skin. It was a softer material; I also wore this to training and passed the test again.
As for bras, I'm not too fond of bras. I only wear sports bras, so when I opened the package, I was discouraged until I realized the design was different. Before putting it on, let's talk about the material. Whoever selected the material for these bras should get a Gold medal. It is so soft against my skin, with no hooks in the back, just a soft material against my skin. I had zero complaints, and the magnet in the front nailed it. I also tested them in the gym; crazy, I know, but it was too past the test.
Here's the fun part: the instructions asked us to hand wash and machine wash the product. I washed the underwear on its own and threw it into the dryer. Once the dryer stopped, I opened the door and could not find the garments. I panicked. Because of the magnet, it was stuck on the top of the dryer the entire cycle. Hand wash and machine wash tests were approved, I just had to remember to check the top of the dryer after each wash.
Gamut, Victoria's Secret, and Pink did an incredible job collaborating on these adaptive garments for women. For years, women with a disability have struggled with undergarments; now, we have an iconic brand listening to our community and making these changes.
The sensory fabric, for me, is personal, and this is a big game changer for the Autism community. The front adjusters also make it easy to adjust when needed, and the magnetic front snaps into place every time. Not having to feel uneasy throughout the day, wearing uncomfortable garments is revolutionary. I have been wearing my bras to school since the testing, and I can't wait for them to hit the store so I can stockpile in every color.