The textile solution provider partnered with Open Style Lab and Paradox Sport to produce a short film called “From the Lab to the Crag.”

Writer: Carly Terwilliger

Polartec teamed up with non-profit partners Open Style Lab and Paradox Sports to produce a short documentary film addressing the need for inclusive apparel design and access to climbing for people of all abilities.

Open Style Lab, through a 10-week summer program, a class at Parsons School of Design and various research projects, increases awareness about the need for accessible clothing, and equips its community to develop and distribute clothing designs and technologies that will increase clothing accessibility.

Founded in 2007, Paradox Sports enriches lives through adaptive climbing opportunities. Recognizing that climbing in general often requires adaptive equipment regardless of ability, Paradox Sports wrote the book on adaptive climbing and organizes climbing outings to engage people with disabilities and help them realize their capabilities.

The film follows Carlos Quiles, a climber, along with Michael Scannell and Justin Moy, Open Style Lab participants, as they go climbing with Paradox Sports.

“Open Style Lab saw the powerful potential of performance fabrics and inclusive design training to address mobility challenges faced by people with disabilities, athletes, and for the injured,” said Grace Jun, Open Style Lab executive director. “Open Style Lab has partnered with Polartec since 2015 and recently recommended summer program clients to experience outdoor climbing with Paradox Sports. Through collaborations like these, Open Style Lab aims to bring these innovative clothing solutions to the growingly diverse population and raise awareness of the need for accessible clothing. We knew this would be a great collaboration of like-minded people, who share Open Style Lab’s vision of a more beautiful and inclusive world.”

“I have walked through outdoor stores with many people with disabilities after their first time climbing,” said Mike Neustedter, Paradox Sports executive director. “A new look comes into their eyes. Carabiners, outdoor apparel, climbing shoes, and ascenders are taking their place alongside leg braces and wheelchairs. They are now part of the world of rock climbers and we hope they will have access to better functioning options thanks to our partnership with Polartec and Open Style Lab.”

“Polartec has a long history of solving problems through the science of fabric and creating products that help people realize what’s possible in the world of sport,” said Darren Josey, Polartec North American marketing manager. “We saw that same spirit in Paradox Sports and Open Style Lab, organizations which have gone out and solved problems the market didn’t. For that, we wanted to help them not just spread the word but offer actionable steps for both businesses and individuals alike to expand access to proper apparel and access to climbing.”

Photos and video courtesy Polartec