Shirts outfitted with self-closing magnets rather than traditional buttons are one of the new customized features of the MagnaReady LLC clothing line created by a North Carolina woman who starting designing new clothing options to assist people, such as her husband, who live with Parkinson's disease and other debilitating health conditions. Now, the clothing line is about to be available throughout the United States and Canada for those who struggle daily with difficult dexterity and coordination.
Dressing with dignity has become the guiding force of MagnaReady CEO Maura Horton, after her husband, former college football coach Don Horton, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at age 48. She told Fox News she tried to buy clothing that would make it easier for him to dress himself, but she found few things that fit and many items were too casual or not appropriate for professional job settings.
She said she found shirts that used Velcro, which can prove challenging to put together and tear apart for people suffering from diseases, such as Parkinson's and arthritis.
So, Horton created a patented technology, marketed under the brand MagnaReady, and launched her clothing online in 2013. Now her clothing will be rolled out in stores nationwide and in Canada, through a partnership with PVH, a global apparel company that owns Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD and Calvin Klein. The shirts will be made for a yet-to-be-named PVH brand, and will also be sold under the MagnaReady label at PVH brands' retail locations.
Ten years ago, adaptive clothing that Horton found targeted elderly men and women who were hunched over walkers and in wheelchairs. She told Fox they looked nothing like her athletic husband, who was diagnosed with the tremor-causing degenerative disorder about 10 years earlier than the average patient.
"We're just fighting every day to maintain the level of mobility and strength from the day before, and it's a losing battle," said Horton.
Horton said she never thought her custom shirts would evolve into the formation of a full-blown company, although she previously designed her own line of children's clothing and sold them in high-end boutiques in Boston and New York.
"I have stroke and Parkinson's and ALS patients who are young and active and fashionable, and when your choice is have your spouse or child dress you, or wear clothing designed for hospital or nursing home use, the choice is depressing and discouraging," Suzanna Eller, a Seattle, Wash.-based social worker with the American Parkinson Disease Association, which has worked with MagnaReady, told Fox News. "When a disease or physical limitation is taking away your abilities or sense of self, every little thing that allows you to feel whole or capable is a gift."
In 2013, MagnaReady sold about 3,000 shirts to individuals suffering from conditions, such as arthritis, stroke, ALS, Parkinson's and neuropathy, as well as injured veterans, Horton said.