Thomas & Friends, National Autistic Society Create Clothing Range

The range of autistic-friendly clothing will be available exclusively on Character.com.
License Global

March 25, 2022

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Mattel

The Thomas & Friends brand team in the U.K. are working with the National Autistic Society and Character.com to develop a range of clothing featuring Thomas & Friends characters designed to be autism friendly.  

“At Character.com, we value charitable relationships and responding to our customers’ needs,” says Karen Hewitt, co-founder, Character.com. “As a result, we are thrilled to introduce this Thomas & Friends range that Mattel developed in collaboration with the National Autistic Society. The Character.com team are delighted to be selling a range that was unique to the industry and provided our consumers with exactly what they needed. We are thrilled to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause, and we hope that this is the start of many such initiatives from Character.com.” 

Some autistic children are sensitive to the feel and color of certain materials, to the extent that some clothing is unpleasant or even painful to wear. This range has been developed in collaboration with the

National Autistic Society, which conducted research with families of autistic children and ran focus groups at the charity’s Helen Allison School.  

“We are delighted to be partnering with Thomas & Friends and Character.com to create such an important range of clothing for autistic children and teens,” says Peter Watt, director, national programs, National Autistic Society. “Parents and autistic young people often tell us how sensory sensitivities can mean that children on the autism spectrum struggle with certain clothes. For some, a label on a T-shirt, a prominent seam or certain fabrics could be incredibly itchy, distracting or even physically painful. Finding the right clothing can make shopping difficult, time consuming and stressful. So, it’s really great to have the chance to develop this autism-friendly collection.” 

The clothing range has been designed with these insights in mind – with soft fabric and includes items such as loose-fitting T-shirts, jumpers and tracksuits, all designed for ease of dressing. The National Autistic Society then ran two focus groups at their Helen Allison School in October 2021, where autistic pupils tried the clothes over the weekend and shared their feedback.  

The range launches on Character.com during World Autism Acceptance Week on April 2. 

“Thomas & Friends is an inclusive brand that invites all of our fans to celebrate friendship,” says Claudia Caron, marketing manager, Thomas & Friends, Mattel. “We are very proud to be supporting our Thomas & Friends community of autistic fans through our partnership with our friends at the National Autistic Society to offer more choices and accessible clothing based on what mums and dads of autistic children have told us they want to see.”  

The range is available at Character.com from April 2. 

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