Krystal Sarcone

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Adaptive Attire

A new website coming soon!!!! Hopefully, November 1st - with more updated recent information on my Adaptive Attire display at Brown University Hack Health Event and my workshop at Brown-RISD's Better World by Design Conference!

The Short Spiel (INTRODUCTION)

Access to stylish, affordable, comfortable, functional clothing is NOT equitable. 

People with disabilities, physical limitations, or body shapes outside of what dictate apparel product development have a much harder time finding clothing that meets their needs. 

The end result is that millions are being marginalized in the clothing industry. Even older adults, with less dexterity and impaired mobility meet challenges finding clothing. Buttons and zippers and the products available fail to offer what everyone wants or needs. 

In a time where the technology is there and the literature supports that: 1) body image and clothing matter; and 2) that people with disabilities have a much harder time accessing adequate products and shopping experience, we need to strive for solutions. 

My Thesis Research

As partial completion of my Master's degree in Public Health, I conducted qualitative research, interviewing 20 people with disabilities to learn about their experiences with clothing. 

From these in-depth interviews I learned a lot. 

Please feel free to download and read my thesis here. 

The thesis goes into detail as to why image and clothing matter and why clothing is a particular challenge for people with disabilities. 

My Thesis Paper will be uploaded soon! Stay tuned!

BWxD = Better World By Design (Brown + RISD Fall Conference)

Krystal Sarcone | Design and Disparities: The Role of Apparel in Marginalizing People with Disabilities and How Design Can Change the World

This workshop is an introduction to the world of apparel through the lens of disability. Simply put, participation in society as a consumer is not equitable for people with disabilities (PWDs). There is a lack of accessibility within retail environments and also within garment construction itself. There will be an opportunity for participants to come together to discuss these concepts and think of the many ways in which innovation can incorporate elements of universal design.

Interested in being interviewed? Want to share you experience with clothing? 

Double Check Your Eligibility

*You must meet all 4 requirements.

  1. Native or Fluent English speaker
  2. Can do the interview in person or on the phone or via the web/computer. 
  3. You yourself are 18 years or older (caretakers can interview on behalf of people younger than 18 if they are the person responsible for purchasing clothing and dressing the minor). 
  4. Have a body difference or limited ability from conventional concepts: including:

Major Amputation: All foot, and all above and below knee or elbow. This includes people born without full or partial limbs.

Wheelchair Users: If you use a wheelchair permanently or for more time than not, more than 50% of the time.

Spine or Torso Deformity: If you scoliosis and curvature(s) greater than 40 degrees.

Little People: Medically, dwarfism is defined as a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height shorter than 4"10" for both men and women. 

Things to know before the interview

  • The interview is tape recorded. But once they're transcribed they're destroyed. 
  • They last around 30 min, but vary on how much you share.
  • The questions are generally about clothing (including shoes and accessories) 
  • Everything is anonymous. Your name is not kept with the data/interview but I do
    keep your age, gender and diagnosis on file with the data.

If you have any questions email me at [email protected] or [email protected] 

Thank you for your interest to be interviewed! 

Everything below is extra information only if you're interested to know more! =) 

Research Matters Application Video (5 min)

Hoping to be a finalist for "Research Matters" at Brown University to share my Qualitative Thesis Research on Adaptive Attire!

"Nearly 650 million people (about ten percent of the global population) have disabilities, ten percent of whom specifically need wheelchairs for mobility. Likewise, more than 660,000 individuals domestically suffered major limb loss (includes all food and above or below elbow or knee amputations). And an additional major contributor to disability globally is, spinal deformities; my specialty prior joining the Brown University family two years ago.

My research strives to gain insight from these populations as to how we can better suit their unique needs when it comes to apparel. What started out as anecdotal observations of patients with similar diagnosis wearing suspiciously similar clothing choices has turned into an extensive thesis project. What I’ll be calling Adaptive Attire, is clothing designed or modified for use by individuals with non-conventional body shapes and abilities, with emphasis on amputees, those who are wheelchair-bound, and people with severe anatomical deformities, such as pronounced scoliosis. Surgery patients or others with transient (or permanent) yet limiting- conditions also may benefit from adaptive attire. Due to the difficulties of mobility or dexterity, clothing with modified zippers, closures, buttons and so forth not only allow individuals suffering from conditions such as arthritis easier use, but also allow caregivers or hospital staff easier access and execution of tasks.

Essentially, my research begins to unearth the fact that adaptive attire is not merely an amusing concept but a much neglected necessity for millions. Through a qualitative approach my thesis work utilizes in-depth interviews to hone in on specific limitations and frustrations in the garment and fashion world. And though there is some overlap, I intentionally differentiate my discipline from efforts utilizing prosthesis as devices of fashion, a slate upon which personality is portrayed or the truly innovative and artistic prosthetic creations modern technology has afforded us. My angle is more, for those amputees that choose or don’t choose prosthesis, or for a 17-year old with a rare form of dwarfism who has to shop in the children’s section but has an upcoming job interview, what novel techniques in design can be put forth to make available more adaptive clothing."

Click the above icon to download a version of my PowerPoint Presentation used to present my project to my classmates in the Qualitative Research Methods Course from where my thesis project arose. 

Click the above icon to download a .pdf version of my Qualitative Research Methods Course Final Paper, completed after the first three interviews. 

Nerd Nite Providence, RI - October 19th 2016

IRB and Program Proposals

Click the above icon to download a .pdf version of my
 Institutional Review Board (IRB) Protocol Proposal 

Click the above icon to download a .pdf version of my 
Master's of Public Health (MPH) Thesis Proposal

Brown University Entrepreneurship Conference - December 5th 2016

Click the icon (left) to download the PowerPoint Presentation from the Conference on: Entrepreneurship at the Intersection of Diversity and Inequality

Featured on Brown University's News! (Image Right) 
Click here to read more!