The Coralville Eightfold Fox brand makes fashion-appropriate clothing accessible to Iowans. The garments include pieces designed for people with physical disabilities.
After Coralville resident K. Fox couldn’t find comfortable clothes to wear with a stomach disorder at fast fashion stores, they created their own brand –– Eightfold Fox.
“Naturally, I set out to make sure that [the clothes] weren’t pressing on my stomach, and they weren’t one size fits all because it’s very uncomfortable for me with my digestive disorder,” Fox said. “You can adjust this to whatever size you are that day and it will look great on you.”
The two-year-old online brand brings responsive clothing to Iowa City and surrounding communities.
Eightfold Fox is based in Coralville and specializes in clothing designed and adapted for people with physical disabilities. Fox’s passion for fashion adaptability stems from a need for clothing that accommodates abdominal pain, Fox said.
Fox first worked as director of speech therapy at a private clinic in Connecticut. Fox didn’t always plan to design tailored clothing; rather, it was born out of necessity, they said.
Eightfold Fox customer Tara McGovern said the clothes are designed to help with all types of disabilities and issues.
Fox’s clothing features pieces suitable for people with arthritis, fine motor impairments, sensory needs, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions.
“I don’t have any physical reasons why I specifically need adaptive clothing – other than some sensory issues – but the fact that Fox is able to adapt to people’s individual needs is so valuable and important, and they understand how clothes should work for us,” they said.
The need for adapted clothing affects a large number of people. One in four adults in America lives with a disability and six in ten lives with a chronic illness, as of 2020.
“They are all adjustable. For example, the ruched skirt has some girth in the front and it’s gathered into a waistband,” Fox said. “It has a flat waistband, which keeps you from having that really chunky look that a lot of drawstring things can have. But in the back, it gathers with a drawstring.
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Susan Abrahams, another Eightfold Fox customer, appreciates how the clothes worn are not only functional, but fashionable.
“The clothes are beautiful, well-made and comfortable,” Abrahams said. “It’s hard to find things that don’t look like moo moos.”
Fox crafts each item by hand and to order, giving shoppers the ability to customize the fabric, size, and length of the items they purchase. This includes the option of ethical items made from 100% recycled fabrics, buttons and other materials.
McGovern said they also like the durability factor of Eightfold Fox garments.
“I really like the option of using ethical fabric which is usually repurposed fabric,” McGovern said. “It could be like end pieces.”
In addition to clothing adapted to physical needs, it is gender neutral and is not marketed as men’s or women’s clothing.
“Fox is very careful about how his clothes are presented in terms of gender. Nothing is specifically gendered, which is really important to me,” McGovern said. [the clothing is] not only adaptive in the sense of physical disabilities, but also adaptive in the sense of gender performance.
After two years of making clothes, Fox is still working on expanding her business, hoping to make adaptive clothing more accessible.
“I started posting my experience with this online, and the response was overwhelming,” Fox said. “People have been sending me private messages saying, ‘Hey, did you know that what you’re designing would also work for my disability?’ It was wonderful to have all these people contacting me.