Aussie mum launches adaptive clothing brand at Walmart

Clothing brand The Shapes United, founded by Aussie mum Penny Weber, has made history as the first Australian adaptive fashion label to be sold through US retail giant, Walmart.

Founder and disability advocate Penny Weber described the partnership as a real ‘pinch me’ moment.

“It’s an incredible moment for me. There were many people who told me it couldn’t be done, or there wasn’t a market for adaptive clothing,” says Penny.

To have the world’s leading retailer acknowledge my business and see the value in it, it’s a dream come true.

Melbourne-based adaptive clothing brand The Shapes United is designed for all people, including those living with a disability or mobility impairments. It’s also the only Australian adaptive clothing range that includes options for tweens and teens.

All clothes feature adaptations such as wider openings, hook and loop closures, no tags and flat seams and come in sizes ranging from X-Small to 3XL.

The Shapes United and its sister brand Recovawear, were inspired by Penny’s personal experience with limited mobility.

In 2009 she was involved in a serious car accident that saw the left side of her body affected.

She was in hospital for months undergoing surgeries and realised there were very limited clothing options for people with reduced mobility.

“It’s a different situation to the old, ‘I have nothing to wear’ conundrum. I was 32 and I literally had nothing to wear. I couldn’t dress myself, and I knew this was the reality for many others. I was surprised there was nothing available,” says Penny.

Giving people the power to dress themselves and to dress how they want, it’s such a joy.

After working with the Remarkable startup accelerator in 2021, a division of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Penny found there was a need in the market for a diverse range of clothing options that were more inclusively designed.

So she set about making fashionable, inclusive clothes that effortlessly transition from casual daywear, to work, to drinks with friends – and The Shapes United was born.

In a statement, Remarkable said the brand is providing options that have previously been lacking.

“The Shapes United really does address a gap in the market and this is a global problem. Whether it be a temporary impairment, or lifelong disability, everyone should have the opportunity to choose what they wear and to feel great wearing it,” A Remarkable spokesperson said.

In April last year, Walmart reached out to Penny asking to include her clothing brand in the Walmart adaptive clothing range.

“We were sick with covid, lockdowns were happening, and then I got a message from a Walmart representative on LinkedIn. I couldn’t believe it,” says Penny.

The Shapes United is also attracting praise here in Australia.

Up against a record number of applicants, the brand has been recognised with the Australia Post Local Business Hero Award 2023.

“It’s amazing to see our hard work is paying off. The Shapes United is now on the Walmart website and anyone can order through there, as well as TSU Online shop and through Averee, Hello Good World, Better That and The Iconic.”


For more information: 

theshapesunited.com

 

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