What is sensory sensitivity/tactile defensiveness?
Tactile defensiveness is a specific type of sensory or touch sensitivity. It means that the person overreacts to touch and may refuse or avoid touching. Tactile deficits may also include increased or decreased reactions to textures. Many children with Autism also experience tactile defensiveness. It is also a common symptom of Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, and varied Developmental Disabilities.
People with tactile defensiveness may be especially sensitive to textures and tags on clothing. They may have strong preferences about the clothes they wear. Parents may find they need to cut out tags that itch the neck and buy clothing made of soft fabrics, without elastic cuffs or hems. Cotton seems to work best for individuals with tactile defensiveness, as woven or synthetic fabrics tend to be itchy and overstimulating to the touch. This can be challenging for children and parents especially when school or work dictate you have to wear something other than sweatpants and baggy sweatshirts.
Will this clothing work for my child?
We asked over 5,000 parents and individuals with sensory sensitivity/tactile defensiveness to tell us how their ideal clothing would be constructed for maximum comfort and style. We incorporated the most common responses into our designs and production. This does not mean that Soft clothing will work for every child--it just means it's a few steps closer to comfort. Soft clothing is not therapeutic in itself, but rather takes into consideration symptoms of sensory disorders, and will compliment any therapeutic program. As teachers and parents--the designers and founders of Soft realize that one size does not fit all when it comes to children with special needs. We hope that our clothing comes close--and that we can continue to modify and tailor our products to meet a wide range of individual needs.
What is flat seaming?
A special Flatlock sewing machine is used to sew our Soft flatlockseams. The machine fuses 2 edges of material together creating asmooth, flat seam. Most clothes are sewn with overlock seams. Overlockseams are a cheaper, faster and easier way to sew clothes with but theyleave bulky, itchy, uncomfortable seams in your clothing. Flatlockseams leave a smooth surface, giving our clothing a seamless feel.overlock seam in typical tshirt flat seam used in all soft garments (actual soft tee)
What is bio-washing or enzyme washing?
Enzyme washing is a natural laundering process we use to clean and finish our cotton, and give it a worn-in feel without damaging the quality of the seaming or cotton. Enzyme washing is an ecologically friendly way of treating the garments, because the natural origins of enzymes biodegrade, rather than linger in the water supply. When you look at unwashed cotton under a microscope--it looks like a porcupine with many fibers sticking up and out. Enzyme washing helps smooth out the surface of the cotton--making it flat and therefore creating less friction between the skin and the garment. We also bio/enzyme wash to soften seams, prints, and any topstitching or embroidery. The process helps to reduce pilling, which can be an irritating consequence of regular machine washing. Our wash process eliminates many of the extra fibers which would later pill thorugh wear or washing.
Is this clothing just for children with disabilities?
As our tagline, "clothing for all children" suggests, Soft clothing is not only for children with disabilities, but for all children. We are the first line of inclusive clothing--which means that we take into consideration a wide range of needs--from the most sensory sensitive to the most typically developing. What child doesn't want to be comfortable (and stylish) in their clothing?
Where is your clothing made?
We design and test our clothing in the USA, and manufacture our clothing in India. When we were searching for a manufacturer, we wanted to find an expert who had a close connection to sensory issues--so that they would easily understand what we were trying to accomplish. We were approached by a father of a child with Autism in 2008, who was also a seasoned garment production executive! He helped us find a factory that would work with our special requests, and manufacture our clothing in socially responsible ways. We have a very special relationship now with our factory representatives in India, and they are deeply commited to our mission and testing process. Our factory is WRAP certified, ensuring the factory produces goods under lawful, humade and ethical conditions. Our factory is also OEKO-TEX certified, a certification system for environmentally friendly production in the clothing and textile industry. It is also GOTS certified for our organic styles, which is recognized as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers.
Will you carry more styles?
Yes! We plan to offer 25 styles (and continue adding more) by the end of 2010. These are our first basics, soon we will launch our soft jeans, seasonal (summer/outerwear) styles, undergarments, accessories, and more. We even plan to launch a line of sensory toys!
Where can I find Soft clothing besides the web?
We are slowly making our way into retail stores across the country! Click here for our stockists. We also have Trunk Shows all around the country. If you would like to host a trunk show, click here. If you would like to attend one, click here for our Trunk Show Calendar. If you are a retailer, and would like to come see our showroom on the East or West Coasts, or attend a tradeshow where we we will be presenting Soft, click here for wholesale info.
Do you carry clothing for toddlers? babies? adults?
We currently offer sizes for children ages 4-12, but plan to introduce infant/toddler lines, adult lines, undergarments/pajamas, and swimwear in the near future! If you have specific ideas for our clothing line, we would love to hear from you.
What makes your clothing different from other child's clothing?
The changes we have made are subtle, but important. We use flat seaming throughout all of our garments, meaning no seams stick up or out as in most clothing. We use seaming and construction typically used in underwear, swimwear, and athletic clothing--which is designed to be more comfortable than everyday clothing. We print our labels digitally so that our garments are truly tagless and non-irritating to the skin (no sticky or peeling decal or plastisol prints). We use vegetable dyes so that our colors are both vibrant, and safe. We also digitally print many details that might normally be irritating or distracting---such as buttons, zippers, woven fabrics, and applique designs. This way one can enjoy a diverse and stylish wardrobe appropriate across all occasions--but always feel like they are in a sweatsuit or t-shirt! Our socks are constructed with a special hand-linked toe, eliminating the toe seam that is so irritating to so many children.
Do you have a catalog?
Can you provide more sizing information?
Our sizing charts are in the left side menu and on every product page. Our first collection will offer sizes for children ages 4(XS) to 12 (XXL).
Who is behind Soft?
Soft was created by Jessica Ralli, a Special Educator/graphic designer in Brooklyn, with a Masters in Special Education from Columbia University, who teaches children with SPD and Autism. In 2008, Jessica partnered with Suzy Kogen Friedman, a Chicago mom/entrepreneur/advocate, who has a nephew with Autism who experiences sensory sensitivity and has a difficult time wearing most clothing. We share a personal connection to our mission, direct experience and involvement in the Autism/Sensory community, and a strong commitment to helping as many children and families as possible through our adaptive and inclusive clothing.
Where can I find out more about Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism?
For resources, articles and to connect with other families, please visit the Soft Blog and Social Network (links: www.softclothingblog.net and www.softsensoryworld.com. You can also find a selection of resouced curated by parents and special educators at the Soft Therapy Corner.