Fashion lecturer Tania Allan-Ross has designed a novel pressure garment.

Just as babies like being swaddled, some children and adults with autism and other conditions find that pressure is reassuring and provides a sense of comfort (calming) and security. Tania set out to design a garment that would meet this need for a family member. The only product available at that time was unappealing and impractically heavy because it used lead weights.

Tania experimented firstly with existing stretchable fabrics, designing garments that used tension instead of weight to put pressure on the body. However constant pressure ceases to have any beneficial effect, as the wearer becomes used to it, so a tight garment was not going to be the solution.

Tania has developed an innovative design that involves straps across the body. The wearer can put tension on the straps temporarily to provide pressure when needed. The straps are incorporated within a comfortable knitted undergarment in fine merino wool. Prototypes have been developed with assistance from the Textile Design Lab at AUT and a Todd Foundation grant.

Tania will continue to refine and test the design, and is interested in finding a business partner to help take the garment from prototype to commercial production.

February 2017