Changing the fashion industry to one that empowers everyone is my biggest passion. Using my personal experience of Fibromyalgia, my designs aim to make fashion more accessible for young people with invisible disabilities, enabling them to find joy in their clothes again.
Fashion can be incredibly damaging – to the environment, to peoples’ health, and to their self-esteem. I’m eager to change this, by asking what needs to be done to improve fashion’s impact, both on people and the planet. With my FMP Enough, I consider how clothing plays a role in how we may experience disability and look at what changes can be made to make getting dressed a more exciting experience than one filled with apprehension. In my extended dissertation module, I explored this further by asking why we continue to harm people through our pursuit of fast fashion, and how we can stop.
As I’ve learnt to cope with my condition, I’ve realised how inaccessible the world and fashion are for those with disabilities. It’s the little things that aren’t obvious at first – like tiny shirt buttons that are hard to use if you struggle with dexterity, or unforgiving cuts of trousers that don’t allow for bloating or sitting down in a chair, or even the irritation seams and overlocked edges can cause. I specifically tried to consider the impacts clothes can have on those with chronic pain conditions.
When thinking about this, the word ‘enough’ comes up a lot. As young people, we often aren’t considered ‘old enough’ to be disabled, expected to use the stairs and be the first to give up our seats because we’re young. Those with chronic pain conditions aren’t always considered ‘disabled enough’, despite experiencing pain every day. I want to focus my project on young people with hidden disabilities, reminding them that they are enough and their struggles are valid and deserving of care and attention.
My pieces are designed to quietly tackle some of these impacts that fashion can have on people with chronic pain conditions, creating interesting clothing from the outside, with useful and considered adaptations hidden just for the wearer. No fiddly fastenings – only wide ties that are easy to grip. No irritation – just soft and smooth fabrics with bound edges. And nothing plain and boring either, but full of tactile textures that I love to create, including hand beading, embroidery, and knit. Not only are they on trend on social media, but these textures also create positive sensations to contrast the negative ones caused by our conditions – a key one being the soothing pressure of weighted beads. These beads calm and relax the body, and are inserted into quilted shapes inspired by crystals, reminding the wearer of their strength and beauty under pressure, much like how a diamond’s beauty is formed.