There are plenty of e-commerce destinations, but Juniper Unlimited is one of a kind. As the first online shopping site dedicated to products for people with disabilities, health conditions, and caregivers, it provides much-needed essentials to a market that has traditionally been ignored by fashion. Launched earlier this month by activist and author Sinéad Burke and MagnaReady inventor Maura Horton, it’s the sort of passion project that propels the industry forward. This week’s debut of Yarrow, its in-house adaptive apparel line, is a sign of things to come. Powered by MagnaReady’s patented closure system, it focuses on cozy, softly draped pieces that are easy to layer while also allowing people with limited dexterity or mobility to get dressed with dignity.
Horton’s MagnaReady technology was born out of necessity. The wife of the famed college football coach Don Horton, she realized the need for clothing that could open and close without buttons and zippers when her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 48. “After a game, he was stuck and trapped in a locker room, unable to get dressed to catch the team plane to come home. And a player by the name of Russell Wilson, who now plays for the Seattle Seahawks, saw him struggling, and went over in silence and just helped him get dressed,” she shared on the phone from Raleigh, North Carolina. “When my husband came home, he said he had had a hard day. I thought it was because they’d lost the game. Like most football coaches’ wives, we live and die by the wins and losses. But when he told me that story, there was this new humility in his voice that I had never heard before: the almost scared tone of an athletic man whose disease was starting to manifest and [who] was losing his independence.”
Horton immediately went online to see what options were available. At the time, the clothing offered was limited, shirts with Velcro fastenings made with cheap materials. Nevertheless, she placed an order. “When I received the shirts, both he and I were pretty disappointed,” she says. “Not only in the way they functioned, but the quality—I knew there had to be something better.” Inspired by the 2012 launch of the iPad and its magnetic covers that snapped into place, Horton experimented with different magnets to find one that could stand in for a traditional button or zipper. Though she eventually found a few strong enough, none could survive a spin in the washer and dryer. “It was back to the drawing board,” says Horton. “Eventually we created and patented washable clothing mechanisms that you now see in adaptive clothing. It started with one shirt in two colors, and quickly we realized that we were onto something much bigger.” The easy-to-use and waterproof magnetic closures that Horton developed are now used on a variety of clothing.
MagnaReady grew steadily, expanding into an array of workwear in the Brooks Brothers business casual vein. Still, when