lifestyle

When a pair of jeans can change a life.

Maggie and Karen.

By LAURA HAMPSON

It’s a fashion line that’s worth some hype.

Downs Designs produces jeans, pants and shirts that cater to the needs and unique body shapes of people with Down syndrome.

And it exists because a Kickstarter campaign raised nearly five times its original target.

American grandmother Karen Bowersox realised there was a gap in the market after her granddaughter Maggie, who has Down syndrome, couldn’t find clothes that fit properly.

“The femur [of those with Down syndrome] is so short, so when you have a pair of pants, a standard size pair of pants, they don’t taper at their knee. They can roll up a shirt sleeve four or five times. So many times they look like they’re wearing someone else’s clothes because they can’t find clothes that fit,” Karen told KPTV.

“If they’re struggling with buttons and zippers, their independence is taken away … So you see a lot of [people with Down syndrome] wearing sweat pants, so our jeans are not just a pair of pants, they literally can change their life.”

Karen’s daughter then challenged her to create a range that would cater to the specific needs of an individual with Down Syndrome; a challenge she relished. Karen then hired a designer and began to build a company.

Maggie in her namesake ‘Maggie’ jeans.

“My daughter said ‘Hey mom, why don’t you make clothes for someone with Down syndrome?’ That was a wake-up call,” she said. “I couldn’t get it out of my head.”

While Downs Designs has been a successful operation for nearly five years, Karen is looking to expand their clothing line from jeans to a larger variety of clothing for every age and gender. To do this, Karen launched a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of raising $5,000 and in just a few weeks, she surpassed the goal with the total raised currently at $22, 650.

“I’m so fulfilled with what I do, I can’t sleep. I can’t wait to get up every day and go to work to see what I can do for the next person, see how many lives I can help.”

Kudos to you, Karen. It’s people like you who make the world a better place.

To find out more about Downs Designs, you can visit their website or their Facebook page. Or if you would like to donate, you can find their Kickstarter campaign here.

Check out these happy customers below!

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