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This New Seal of Approval Identifies Adaptive Clothing and Products for People With Disabilities

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The date was March 24, 2022. I happened to be watching “The View” on ABC when Mindy Scheier, the founder of GAMUT Management, was being interviewed with her son, Oliver. GAMUT is the leading consulting and talent company with and for people with disabilities. My daughter Yassy happened to be off work that day, so I called her in to watch.

She was captivated by Mindy and Oliver’s interview. Yassy was quiet, but her interest was clear. When a fashion show came on the screen showing GAMUT models, who all had disabilities, Yassy’s interest turned to joy and excitement. Yassy is 22 and has Down syndrome and autism. She is also one of the over 800 actors/models on GAMUT’s roster. She is fairly new to this acting/modeling world so seeing this was new for her. I told her that maybe one day she can model in a show like that, something she already was seeing and noting for herself. Representation matters, more than most people realize.

Fast forward to this summer when GAMUT made an announcement to its talent community. It stated that a new GAMUT Seal of Approval ™ will be launched later this year and asked its talent roster to send in very short videos stating what that seal means to them. The video was released July 26th, the anniversary of the creation of the ADA. Yassy was on board immediately, as were many others.

As a parent who knows that we have to step up to help create the world we want for our children, I have tremendous admiration for leaders like Mindy who take one need and not only solve it, they change the world for more than their immediate concerns. Mindy started Runway of Dreams, and later GAMUT Management when her 8-year-old son Oliver wanted to wear jeans to school. Oliver has muscular dystrophy and no jeans would fit over his braces. He also needed pants without buttons and zippers. Being a fashion designer, Mindy decided right then and there to not only solve that immediate problem, but to make fashion more accessible for all. Oliver is now a very fashion-forward 17, and GAMUT is growing leaps and bounds, just like he is.

It was an honor to recently speak with Mindy and her amazing team at GAMUT about this new Seal of Approval.

GAMUT seal of approval logo.
GAMUT Management was organically born when many designers, companies, and interested parties wanted to learn more about how to responsibly be more inclusive for people with disabilities after discovering Runway of Dreams. They were reaching out to Mindy Scheier and her team at Runway of Dreams, which is a non-profit foundation. A for-profit company was created, GAMUT Management, providing consulting and talent management. Now the third arm of GAMUT, accreditation, is being finalized. This crucial piece is the GAMUT Seal of Approval.™

For consumers who are in the marketplace for adaptive products, either for themselves or those they care for: this Seal means the product has been vetted by people with disabilities, caregivers, experts, and professionals in the community.

GAMUT’s diverse and very talented team is making sure that proper criteria are developed for this seal. The team consists of core members: Mindy Scheier, CEO, Molly Kettle, COO, Jonathan Kaufman, Chief Strategy Officer who also happens to have a disability, and Kerri McBee-Black, Chief Research Officer. They also have an independent group of evaluators that will be fluid. Integrity is very important to GAMUT and the seal, thus the need for the evaluators to be independent of GAMUT. This group includes people with disabilities, occupational therapists, physical therapists, researchers, designers, product experts, and others. The goal is to have the actual seal officially launched and featured by companies by the end of 2022.

GAMUT cannot reveal most of the companies currently trying to get the seal for confidentiality purposes. However, they are proud to announce that adidas Accessories (hats, bags, socks, men’s underwear) is on board to earn the seal. GAMUT’s list of corporate clients to date includes companies like Victoria’s Secret, Target, LVMH, Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive, and Kohl’s among others.

Part of Gamut’s mission states: “GAMUT is rebranding the way people with disabilities are viewed, marketed to, and represented in pop culture.” While all of this is true, I want to add a crucial point. Every time GAMUT interacts with a brand, designer, or corporation they are opening the company’s eyes as employers. Gently, with genuine interactions and relationships, companies start to see themselves as employers who can employ more people with disabilities. They look at themselves and start to take a corporate inventory of how they can become more inclusive and accommodating to all disabilities. This is not something GAMUT is formally tasked to do, it is something that is part of their core beliefs and culture, that spreads to those they work with. Organically. Sustainably. Look at that list of corporate partners above again, and then picture the truly large impact this is having knowing there are other companies not listed, and so many more to come.

On March 24, 2022, 17-year-old Oliver Scheier said these profound words in his interview with “The View.” “It boggles my mind every day that such an insignificant ask (the jeans he wanted to wear when he was 8) can turn into something so world-changing. It’s unprecedented.” He then praised his mother who he loves very much. That ask and world-changing movement for adaptive clothing now will include a mark of quality to reassure everyday people like you and me that a stringent set of requirements for creating adaptive products has been met. Kudos to GAMUT Management! Look for the logo in this article in stores near you soon, and support those truly inclusive companies!

Originally published: July 27, 2022
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