The development considers the features of the body structure and the mentality of people with Down syndrome. The collection was released on March 21, International Down Syndrome Day. The work on the collection was going on during the past year. The project team decided not to delay the launch despite the difficult times.
Graduates, students and curators of the Fashion Design programme of the British Higher School of Art & Design and AliExpress Russia created a brand of casual clothing for boys and girls with Down syndrome - "TU DU DU", and graduates of the Moscow Film School shot a short film about the collection and the social initiative of AliExpress.
This is the first development of its kind in Russia: the project team created a collection of several items and presented a full-fledged brand with unique technical innovations and the work on the project will continue. The collection will be presented exclusively on AliExpress.
The presentation of the project took place on March 18 in Britanka. In addition to a clothing demonstration, a film about the collection was shown, and a discussion about inclusive design took place with curators and students of the Fashion Design program, Anna Chernykh and Vladimir Tilinin, and faculty graduates Anya Bikchurova, Ira Gainullina, Anastasia Kudryavtseva, Antonina Vorobyeva, and Marina Denisova.
The project is a part of an initiative by AliExpress to increase the available local range in the fashion category, not only in terms of price, but also taking into account various features of the body. Britanka was chosen as a partner for a reason: the school already has experience in implementing social projects and creating clothes for people with disabilities.
Anna Chernykh and Vladimir Tilinin, curators of the Fashion Design program at the British Higher School of Design:
"This is a very important project for the British Higher School of Art & Design, which provides an opportunity to turn conceptual and educational developments in the field of inclusive design into industrial production of such necessary products. Speaking about the issues of inclusion in design, the main goal is to integrate people into society as much as possible. We are not adapting clothes for people with disabilities, we are looking for universal solutions that fit many people".
The development of each item in the collection was carried out with the participation of more than fifty children and adults with Down syndrome aged 10 to 25 years and their parents, as well as with the support of the Love Syndrome and Downside Up foundations. At the same time, children acted as models and experts at the same time.
The School's special laboratory team created a new size guide that considers the features of the body structure of a person with Down syndrome: a wider neck for sweatshirts, shorter sleeves, voluminous and deep pockets, and comfortable fasteners. The clothing was created with a focus on comfort and quality of materials, as well as the colour scheme of each product - with concern for the emotional state of its owner.
The first collection included four items: a unisex sweatshirt and jeans, a skirt and a denim jacket. Patterns for a jacket, a removable hood, and a blouse were developed and may be included in the next collection.
Yulia Pavlova, fundraiser for the Love Syndrome Foundation and sister of a young man with Down syndrome:
"Problems with buying clothes for people with Down syndrome are especially acute in adolescence and adulthood. Children want to look as stylish, striking and modern as their peers, but due to the features of the body it is not always possible. Sleeves of jackets and trousers constantly have to be tucked or cut. We are very grateful to our partners for creating a beautiful collection that considers all the nuances of children with Down syndrome. We are confident that the collection will please and be comfortable not only for our kids, but for everyone who appreciates comfortable and stylish clothes. Since I worked with a project from the Foundation, I showed the clothes to my brother who has Down syndrome. He really liked them, he has already chosen a few things for himself. As soon as the collection appears on AliExpress, I'll be happy to create a new look for him".
The "TU DU DU" brand was created especially for this project. It was developed by a graphic design student at the British Higher School of Art & Design. The brand name refers to a simple, cheerful motif that is easy to remember and hum. The brand's graphic symbol, an orange sparkle star, refers to the brand sparkle of the AliExpress. The brand symbol can have different emotions: joy, anger, sadness, love - so the project team wanted to dispel the misconception that people with Down syndrome are "sunny" and are always in a good mood.
Graduates of the Moscow Film School, which, along with the British Higher School of Art & Design, is part of Universal University's Creative Industries, took part in the work on the collaboration. As part of the project, they created a short film about the new collection and the social initiative of AliExpress. The main message of the video is that comfortable clothes should be available for absolutely everyone. The film was directed by Anna Matsyuk, a graduate of the "Short Form Directing" program at MFS.
Inna Bulycheva, Head of Lifestyle Communications at AliExpress Russia:
"Developing the fashion direction at AliExpress, we want to consider the needs of absolutely all of our customers, including a rather narrow, but no less important segment of people with disabilities. It was important for us to launch this brand not as a charity collection, but as a collection of comfortable and modern clothing. This is our principle positioning, and we hope that with this project we will inspire our colleagues in the market to include a special size guide for people with Down syndrome in the permanent range of brand collections. Our partners from Britanka have all the necessary developments to make this project grow, and we will always make sure that the opportunity to get such clothes is available anywhere in Russia".
Items from the collection can only be purchased on AliExpress Russia. The company will transfer half of the proceeds from the sale of each item to the Love Syndrome Foundation. The cast of the film project "Interaction" took part in the project.