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From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

JanSport Adaptive Collection

Finalist in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Bronze Honor in Disability Awareness


Over the past few years, adaptive fashion has gradually become more mainstream. However, many options available to the adaptive community differ from the design standards young people expect today. JanSport embarked on an extensive journey to provide carry solutions that helped a community of users needing additional features for their unique needs. 

To ensure JanSport fully served the adaptive community, the brand listened to focus groups for over three years during the development process. Those who participated in the groups expressed they felt underrepresented and underserved across several industries when it came to products that worked well for their needs and looked like mainstream fashion. Additionally, through market research, the JanSport design team realized that current bags had a medical grade look and feel, making it obvious it wasn’t a traditional pack a student or working adult might use. The color selections were also limited, and strap features to help secure the packs to chairs and open and close the bags with ease were minimal.

JanSport set out to provide a backpack and accessory bag with expansive features and benefits that ease the use for someone with limited mobility. JanSport also wanted to utilize its iconic silhouette and branding to ensure the products felt genuine and not medical grade. 

Strategy and Execution

To ensure JanSport fully served the adaptive community, the brand engaged in focus groups and worked with Disability:IN, the leading organization driving disability inclusion and equality in business worldwide, for over three years during the development process. The JanSport design team learned an exponential number of use cases for an adaptive carry solution. Specifically, JanSport discovered these products could assist consumers with unique needs beyond mobility devices. Focus groups explained features incorporated into the bags can help consumers who have other disabilities like lupus, autism, or even multiple sclerosis.

The final products, as a result of rigorous product testing and focus groups, was the Central Adaptive Backpack and the Central Adaptive Crossbody.

Resembling the iconic JanSport SuperBreak backpack, the Central Adaptive Backpack is designed to fit securely against a mobility device’s backrest for better balance. The backpack features a shortened height and decreased depth to enable users to reach items at the bottom of the bag easily. An extra padded main body was created for more effortless opening, easy-release buckles, and finger loops for dexterity limitations. Easy-adjust push handle loops are located on the back of the backpack for customization for all mobility devices. The anchor straps fit various chair types and sizes and easily secure the bottom of the bag to the frame or around the back of a mobility device. The backpack includes no dangle and hassle-free shoulder straps with finger loop adjustments, tuck-away shoulder straps for alternative carry methods, dual water bottle pockets, and a laptop sleeve with organization pockets.

The Central Adaptive Crossbody attaches to various mobility devices and has a removable shoulder strap, easy-release buckles, and finger loops for dexterity limitations. The bag features a structured front panel for ease of opening, a one-handed open/close zipper, and a SaniStash pocket. For versatility and added options, the Central Adaptive Accessory Bag includes tuck-away adjustable loops and side attachment points for multiple carry and attachment methods.

The entire collection was built using G.F. buckles typically used in the outdoor industry to make the buckle experience easier when wearing large gloves. JanSport learned that these specific buckles worked well for people with dexterity limitations. The JanSport design team also removed our rain flaps to ease the zipper experience, which also helps individuals with dexterity limitations. 

Each bag comes in 4 colorways - Black, Deep Juniper (Dark Green), Blue Dusk (Light Blue), and Misty Rose (Powder Pink) and 2 patterns - Hippie Days (Tie Dye) and Space Dust (Space Print). 

JanSport brought this collection to life by incorporating a robust paid and earned media strategy that included a complete lifestyle and product photoshoot, including individuals within the adaptive community, from the models, content creators, and producers, to ensure authentic representation. 


The adaptive fashion market is projected to be worth $490 billion by 2026. It is becoming mainstream as more brands develop design-forward, inclusive collections to recognize the one in four individuals in the U.S. with a disability. 

Within the first month of launching the JanSport Adaptive Collection, JanSport has seen recognition from top business and consumer outlets, including Seventeen and Forbes. With over 78M impressions to-date.

"By embarking on this adaptive apparel enterprise, JanSport has both laid down a marker and developed significant insights and learnings that can be spun forward for future product lines." Gus Alexiou, Writer – Forbes.

Additionally, the launch has been received with raving reviews from consumers, including multiple social media re-postings of launch content along with testimonials from people with disabilities who are "refreshed" and "thrilled" to see JanSport expand their collection by building bags that were built with people with disabilities at the forefront from development to marketing.

JanSport aims to be an ally for Gen Z as they navigate school, society, and other life adventures. To do this, JanSport strives to be more inclusive with the products they produce and sell, making the Adaptive Collection an obvious next step for the brand. JanSport’s value of sustainability also pulls through this collection, with both products built with 100% recycled main body fabric. Gen Z's desire for more sustainable products and its commitment to protecting the environment has led JanSport to continue to innovate its iconic products to become more sustainable for the future.


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