Adaptive: fashion for everyone

Fashion house, Iulia Barton has partnered with Canon Italia to bring their vision of truly inclusive and sustainable clothing to a global audience.
The shoulders, upper body and lower face of a model. Her eyes and top of head are out of shot. She is wearing a brown, military looking jacket, which is half zipped. She tugs the shoulders with both hands, exposing her bare shoulders.
Daniela Valterio

Written by Daniela Valterio

Environment, Quality & Product Safety Manager, Canon Italia

Anyone who knows and loves fashion will tell you that the little touches matter. For Giulia Bartoccioni, the CEO, founder and Creative Director of Italian fashion house Iulia Barton, it’s the small details that truly set her Adaptive collection apart. Because while it is the peak of urban fashion – fun, edgy, relaxed and genderless – it also embodies the very soul of inclusive and sustainable style.
“Everybody has the right to aesthetic value,” reads the publicity material for the collection, which debuted in September at Milan Fashion Week. It caused quite a stir, both in terms of sales and column inches, for both its creativity and ambition, as Iulia Barton has launched a line that is universal, wearable by everyone and that goes beyond disability. Adaptive has been a long time in the planning, with Giulia’s initial thinking spanning as far back as 2011, even before Iulia Barton’s days as a model agency. Her brother is disabled and uses a wheelchair, so she was already familiar with the challenges he faced around finding stylish clothing that was suitable to his day-to-day living. As a result, Giulia spent a great deal of time speaking to people about their experiences of disability and, through her agency, she was determined to bring disability to the catwalk, advocating for disabled models to appear alongside non-disabled models.

Ten models pose in front of an amphitheatre-style set of steps. They are all wearing clothes from the Adaptive collection – jeans, shorts, belted shorts and utilitarian trousers and jackets. In the centre, one model sits in a wheelchair.

Every piece in the Adaptive collection is designed with care and considers not just ease of dressing, but the comfort of fabrics and practicalities that are specific to disabled wearers.

Backstage at these shows, Giulia saw first-hand the fashion needs of disabled models and the idea of Adaptive was born. But it wasn’t easy – every disability has its own needs and so bringing every necessary functional element into one stylish, high-quality place for every body and gender was an extremely complicated process.
“All of our clothes are born from listening to the people who have to wear them,” she explains. “Those in a wheelchair, for example, ask for elastic fabrics, side openings, good support for the bust and freedom of movement. Those who have undergone an amputation have other needs – showing their prostheses or removing them without having to undress.”
Iulia Barton’s Head of Design, Diego Salerno’s research for the collection involved over 50 people with different disabilities and resulted in styles where sleeves can be detached, and trouser legs have three zips to adjust their length based on need or preference. "Versatility,” underlines Diego, “is our word order. The trousers are designed to fit the waist in three different sizes, have easy openings on both sides and internal supports so that the zips never touch the skin. We have left nothing to chance.”
However, it was also incredibly important to Giulia and everyone at Iulia Barton to create this apparel using sustainable materials. This meant an additional layer of research and development into the line, not only to source beautiful, recycled fabrics that are made in Italy, but to ensure that each one is gentle, comfortable and suitable for the wearer. For example, allergies such as contact dermatitis are a very real issue for those who have undergone amputations, so every item in the line needed to be hypoallergenic too. This detail alone underscores the many months and years of work that has gone into Adaptive and the success it so unquestionably deserves.

Four people stand in a row, smiling at the camera. On the left is a bearded man in a blue suit and tie. He holds his glasses in his right hand and his body is facing the camera. Next is a woman dressed in white with long brown hair, she stands facing him with her right side facing the camera. Also stood right shoulder to camera beside her are two further people – a taller red haired woman in a cropped, sleeveless cream top and black jacket, pushed off her back and gathered at her elbows. Then a man in a grey shirt.

Left to right: Canon Italia Head of Communications, Corporate Marketing and Sustainability, Paolo Tedeschi, Iulia Barton CEO and Creative Director, Giulia Bartoccioni, Iulia Barton model, Maruska Mallozzi and Iulia Barton Head Designer, Diego Salerno.

Such a huge and important endeavour deserves every support and Giulia Bartoccioni’s vision was shared by many people and organisations. Canon Italy believed in this project from the very beginning and contribute equipment and technical know-how to Giulia as Iulia Barton’s official Digital Imaging Partner. During Fashion Week, Paolo Tedeschi, Canon Italia Head of Communications, Corporate Marketing and Sustainability, and his team provided the next generation EOS C300 Mark III video camera to live stream the launch of the collection. Beyond Milan Fashion Week, Canon will continue to partner with Iulia Barton as the company takes its ambition of ‘universal wearability’ to the rest of the world. "We are proud to have Canon as a partner in this adventure,” says Giulia. “We want everyone have the right to wear a dress that enhances their individuality, regardless of size, wheelchair or prosthesis. Together with Canon, we want to emphasise this message and commit to the creation of a collection that is functional and with an innovative design.”

Adaptive: fashion for everyone
Daniela Valterio Environment, Quality & Product Safety Manager, Canon Italia

Related Articles