Clothing designed for people with disabilities will be available in Cambridge as a brand new business moves into a city shopping center.
Unhidden, an adaptive clothing brand that designs clothing for people with disabilities, will host events that raise awareness of the need for inclusion in the fashion industry as it settles into the Grafton Center.
Unhidden will be in the mall this Sunday (August 3) and every Sunday for the next three months.
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The fashion brand has partnered with retail tech startup Sook to make it the very first adaptive clothing brand to be sold in Cambridge.
It has strived for inclusiveness in the fashion industry since its launch in November of last year.
Unhidden Founder and CEO Victoria Jenkins spoke about why clothing designed for people with disabilities was needed and why the issue was close to her heart.
Victoria is a fashion industry veteran and was inspired to create Unhidden due to her own disabilities caused by gastrointestinal issues.
She said: âI am now a disability advocate and speaker, which I only really got into recently.
“It was absolutely impacted by my background.
âIt was while I was in the hospital in 2016 that I met another patient who inspired me to start Unhidden.
“She had to take everything off every time the doctors came by.
“In life in general, she could only really wear jogging bottoms and a t-shirt, which mentally was not very fun for her and was still very restrictive.”
From her own hospital bed, Victoria began her research and what she found was disappointing.
She said the only suitable clothing available “was not particularly stylish, very old and of medical appearance.”
It gave Victoria the inspiration to use all her knowledge for a better cause and to do something that helps others because “there are so many people who need it”.
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The clothes produced by Unhidden aim to make life easier, more comfortable and more fashionable for people with disabilities.
Some examples of how they do this include making pants especially for wheelchair users who don’t get up when you sit down, and any excess material behind the knee has been removed to take any pressure off your body.
There are no seams or pockets as they can cause pressure surges on wheelchair users and a looser material makes it easier for caregivers to put on the pants.
The looser material also means that a catheter can be inserted into certain parts of the pants.
Unhidden has made shirts and dresses with openings that make it easier for people with diabetes or cancer to receive medication.
The shirts can also be personalized at checkout with magnetic closures so people with cerebral palsy don’t have to spend time playing with pimples, which is also useful for people with arthritis and pimples. Stroke.
Victoria said mainstream fashion is not inclusive enough and does not represent the 14.1 million people with disabilities in the UK.
She said: âI didn’t realize how much I would have benefited from adaptive design because I had never heard of it before.
âI studied fashion design and it’s never covered and it’s still very rare that it’s covered now.
âIf we don’t talk to fashion designers about inclusive design when they study and learn about it, it will be very difficult for them to become standard and normalized.
“Adaptive clothing is the latest fad in the fashion revolution, inclusive design is very lacking in this country.”
Victoria added: ‘One in five people have a disability and the UK’s main street loses Â£ 267million a month because it is not accessible.
“But also because they do not have products specifically intended for people with disabilities.
“We are not very represented as is, we have about two to three percent of media coverage in the world, which, given that we are actually 50 percent of the world’s population, is not ideal.”
“What I’m trying to do with Unhidden is get a positive portrayal and showing off fashion can be fun and should be fun and can be something everyone can enjoy.”
Victoria also intends to host conferences on adaptive design and ableism, on which she wrote a book earlier in the year called The Little Book of Ableism.
It aims to act as a guide on language and alliance to the disabled community.
These conferences aim to shed light on the obstacles that people with disabilities face on a daily basis.
Unhidden was the first tailor-made clothing brand to appear in London and Sunday will also be a first for Cambridge.
At the Grafton Center this weekend there will also be charities they support, including Not a Phase and Models of Diversity, which promote equality and diversity for people with disabilities.
Unhidden was founded in 2016 and launched in November of last year, making it the accumulation of four years of research and development.
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