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Dawn Adaptive


Cover Story


Have you ever woken up, put on a button-up shirt and been grateful that your fingers are able to deftly do up the buttons?

It’s safe to say that many of us take this for granted.

Bernard was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) type 3 at the age of 2 years old. Since then, he is on wheel chair. He was confused and don’t know what to do in his life, until a few years ago, when he started to connect with NGOs and get to know more people with disabilities.

In 2020, Bernard met Usha.

Usha’s daughter, Ivanna is a bubbly and curious girl who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was just a baby. It impacted her ability to do minute daily tasks on her own, including buttoning up her shirts.

Bernard and Usha realised that many other Malaysians with disabilities struggle to access easy-wear and fashionable clothing.

The two instantly clicked when they met up one day, as they had the same idea of creating an adaptive clothing line that could cater to differently-abled folk. This idea would later be manifested as Dawn Adaptive.

Launched on June 14, 2020, Dawn Adaptive makes inclusive clothing that everyone can wear, inspiring confidence and self-expression. It serves the noble mission to create ethical adaptive clothing design that understands fashion just as much as it functions and to support inclusivity, diversity and promote opportunities for all.

Their first product, the Magnetic Polo Tee is designed to make dressing quicker and easier particularly for people with disabilities from strokes, old age persons with Parkinson’s disease, and the infirm, for example.

Since there were no Malaysian brands in this market before Dawn Adaptive, the duo looked to many overseas adaptive clothing from the US, UK and Singapore.

However, they found that it all cost a bomb (RM200-RM500 per article of clothing) to an average income earner, especially after adding up shipping costs.

Believing that adaptive clothing should be something essential to people who really need it, they are determined to find ways to lower the cost. To get started, they surveyed how much people were willing to spend, as well as what clothing designs and types they’d prefer.

They didn’t have to look far for respondents as Bernard had previous connections from his talent and modelling agency, DON Management, that works with and casts differently-abled and alternative models.

At the end, they decided to focus on the Magnetic Polo Tee as it is practical and simple to wear. Magnets are stitched along the inside of the T-shirt, and all you have to do is bring them together.

As of today, Dawn Adaptive has sold hundreds of T-shirts since starting operations. Priced at RM89.90, the Magnetic Polo Tee can be bought on their website and Shopee.

The team aims to go international and become the number one adaptive clothing brand in Asia, and maybe even Europe someday. In the future, Dawn Adaptive has plans to come up with clothing designs that have Velcro, zippers, and more.

Moving forward, Dawn Adaptive aims to expand their brand identity by working with more fashion designers and brands to turn adaptive clothing into a universal design.

Dawn Adaptive has joined ZOM-IN.com to collaborate in efforts to empower aspiring youths. Join us now at www.zom-in.com to participate in exciting events coming soon!


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