Undercare Announces JCPenney Partnership
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susanne Shoemaker, President and CEO
January 25, 2022
New Rochelle, NY -- Undercare Inc., an emerging designer of adaptive undergarments, bathing suits, and athletic wear, today announced that its accessible easy-on and easy-off underwear line for men has been added to the J.C. Penney lineup and is available for sale. Undercare Founder and CEO, Susanne Leary Shoemaker, is pleased that Penney’s is joining the other large name brand retailers in making adaptive clothing available for disabled customers.
Undercare’s Velcro fastening woven and knit boxers and briefs that fasten with soft and flexible Velcro increase independence and empower persons with disabilities by providing the ability to self-dress while also giving help to caregivers. Difficulty in putting on one’s underwear is a common but not often discussed problem for many due to progressive, permanent, or temporary disability.
Susanne Leary Shoemaker, an artist and teacher by training, attributes coming up with the idea to being able to think spatially and three dimensionally. A few years ago, she observed some older adults struggling to self-dress following a swim class and thought there must be a way to design undergarments that are easier to put on. Her clever patented designs do not require bending, balancing, standing on one leg, or pulling over feet and legs. The garment is put on by first wrapping two ends of the garment around the waist and fastening at center navel with a Velcro tab. This holds the garment in place and frees up both hands for the next step. Next, pull the attached panel from behind, through the legs from back to front, and attach on front right and left sides. Once on, the undergarments can be pulled up and down in one piece, or you can detach the front panel for quick and easy access for toileting needs. Undercare uses the best quality materials including cotton with a touch of spandex (no latex) for superior fit.
It is especially exciting because Undercare breaks many barriers on many levels: its founder is a 65-year old woman “grandpreneur,” introducing a revolutionary, intergenerational product. Undercare is filling a space in fashion that reaches across millennials and boomers. Win, win, win for everyone! People with disabilities are one of the largest minority intersectional groups in the world.
The adaptive market formerly focused on the elderly. While the elderly makes up a portion of the adaptive market, the market reaches across all age demographics. Finding comfortable, quality, stylish clothing was not an option for persons with disabilities who have been long-neglected and overlooked. Available products tended to be loose-fitting, bulky, and unattractive.
In the global trend toward diversity, equity and inclusion, persons with disability are finding their voices and it is making a difference. Christina Mallon, of US Nonprofit Open Style Lab insists that retailers who go adaptive and make moves for social justice will earn customer loyalty. “It’s inclusive; it’s hot,” she says. “The brands that are getting involved now are the brands that will win. Many retailers have been slow to adopt the trend because they are unsure in their understanding and the language of Disability. Undercare is a leader in the adaptive market and says it is essential to make disability inclusion a priority in all areas, including fashion. For too long, persons with disabilities have lacked representation and participation, and have been neglected, ignored, or left behind.
Michelle Wlazlo, Chief Merchandising Officer of JCP says, “What we heard over and over was that our disabled customers want clothing that functions well — that considers sensory issues and dexterity and mobility — but is also fun and fashionable. That was a very important part of this.” Addition of the inclusive, accessible Undercare line to its portfolio fits into the Company's mission to help customers find what they love for less time, money, and effort and to deliver style and value for all hard-working American families, including those with disabilities.