Human Interest

New clothing line aims to help people with Down syndrome

Down syndrome

Kyle Voltin, of Fargo, North Dakota, grew up with the recognition that people with Down syndrome face an obstacle few people consider: finding clothing that fits. Because those with Down syndrome are an average of seven inches shorter than someone without the condition, it can be difficult finding a variety of clothing in appropriate sizes. Inspired by his younger brother Brett, who has Down syndrome, Kyle decided to found Xtra Apparel Company as a way to solve this clothing problem.

“Having a brother with Down Syndrome, I’ve heard my Mother’s frustration first-hand when trying to find jeans or shorts that fit him right. The average waistline and inseam measurements for someone with Down syndrome differs greatly from the typical adult,” he writes on Xtra’s website. “Our mission is to create lightweight and comfortable clothing that properly fits and benefits individuals with Down Syndrome.”

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The company’s name and logo, an “X,” are meant to symbolize the extra chromosome found in people with Down syndrome. Voltin is currently using the logo to expand brand awareness, and he’s creating hats, shirts, and sweatshirts and selling them on his site. Eventually, he hopes to offer custom-sized pants tailored exactly to customer specifications. He also recognizes that those with Down syndrome are often on the autism spectrum and may be sensitive to certain textures. With that in mind, Xtra’s clothing is lightweight, soft, and comfortable.

As the company grows, Voltin also hopes to provide job opportunities for people with Down syndrome. “A big challenge for the community is just opportunities and having a career, making a living and making enough money to enjoy life on their own and to enjoy their independence,” he told Currently, the company donates a portion of all sales to charitable organizations that support those with Down syndrome.

“If we can solve that need or fix the problem, appropriately fitting people with Down syndrome, we can provide clothing for anyone and everyone,” Voltin said. “My hope would be that people would get on board with and support a company with a cause.”

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