Steven Claeys Creates MAKT, Dress Pants for People in Wheelchairs


Steven Claeys understands the challenges many wheelchair-users face in trying to look good yet still be comfortable. “I’m a young man, and I’ve always found that your confidence level is higher when you are well-dressed,” Claeys told The Mighty. “After I had my accident it was difficult to accept I would never look the same. So I wanted to minimize the pain by wearing beautiful clothing, but I soon came to realize that normal clothing was really uncomfortable and even dangerous.”

Claeys asked his occupational therapists about adaptive clothing and was dismayed by the selection he saw online. According to Claeys, he had two options: wear less functional clothing that was either uncomfortable, ugly or dangerous or design a pair of pants that would be comfortable, fashionable and empowering for people with disabilities. He chose the latter.

Claeys’ design, the MAKT trousers, features a higher back and extended trouser legs as well as adaptations that protect from skin damage and pressure sores. MAKT pants also include features that can help the wearer get dressed by themselves, such as horizontal pullers on the back of the pants and magnetic closures instead of buttons.

MAKT pants aren’t available for purchase yet. Claeys is currently fundraising through Indiegogo so products can be produced with his first choice of fabric, which is more expensive. The pants are currently designed for men but can fit women as well, Claeys said. Once the pants are in production, Claeys hopes to design a line tailored to disabled women.

“One of my biggest frustrations is the fact that adapted wheelchair clothing already existed, but others always made a trade-off between comfort, looks, safety and empowerment,” Claeys told The Mighty. “I would also tell [other designers] to talk to their target audience, do some research before going to the drawing board. Too much products for people with disabilities don’t reach their full potential because the creators weren’t thorough enough.”

Beyond making a great pair of pants, Claeys wants to connect to the disability community. “What we really want to achieve with this crowdfunding campaign is to create a community of people that believe in the project and that are willing to help and give feedback,” he said. “Because I am not here for the money, I’m here to help people. If we don’t make our funding goal I still wanted people that backed the project to receive the perks we promised instead of nothing.”

With 17 days left to fund MAKT, Claeys is close to making his goal of $10,000. Those interested in receiving a pair of MAKT trousers can help fund the campaign at the $99 level and receive an early pair of dress pants. After the fundraising campaign, the pants will retail at €150 (about $158 USD). If he doesn’t meet his funding goal, Claeys said he will produce the pants with a different fabric. “We are working hard to try and lower the price for the second production run,” Claeys added. “But it will always be more expensive than your average adapted trousers.”

You can learn more about MAKT on Indiegogo


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Disability

Person in a wheelchair playing ball with a child.

Why It's OK for Your Child to Ask About My Wheelchair

I’ve lost count of the amount of times young children have come up to me in the supermarket and asked me what I’m sitting in and why. Just last week, 3-year-old Jimmy happened to be sitting in the shopping cart seat. He caught my eye and waved at me from the yogurt counter. I smiled [...]

When Non-Disabled People Tell Me How I 'Should' Cope With My Disability

Since my condition has progressed and I can no longer do things I used to do, my attitude changed. I noticed things I say to others with conditions like my own do not go down as well with “healthy people.” When I say I’m a “crazy cripple lady,” people tell me “You can’t say that!” [...]
Rachel-Ann Edwards playing wheelchair basketball.

15 Common Situations I've Faced as a Wheelchair User

I’ve found that being in a wheelchair, you have to work extra hard to deal with some of the things life throws at you. Here are just some of the situations I face as a wheelchair user. 1. You’re at bum height all day. Being about 3 feet tall in a wheelchair, you’re in the [...]

The Message I Want You to Remember When You Watch 'Rudolph' This Year

If your household is anything like mine, it’s a holiday tradition to watch some of the classic specials such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and good ‘ole “Frosty the Snowman”; all timeless and ageless “must-sees” for the yuletide season. The one that resonates the most with me is [...]