Inclusive fashion label Kintsugi Clothing has launched its debut collection of womenswear, featuring ten wardrobe essentials, from jeans to jumpsuits. The company designs its apparel using suggestions from across the disabled community, so that each piece can be worn by any woman, disabled or not. The brand sets itself three standards, which every item in its collection must meet: beautiful, useful and accessible.
“We love universal design, which basically means creating products that can be used by the greatest number of people, regardless of size, age or disability,” says the company’s founder, 31-year-old Emma McClelland. “I want the brand to be truly inclusive. Not ‘for disabled people’, as this simply serves to segregate people into labelled groups, but for every body.”
Kintsugi’s two-piece dress and jumpsuit, both designed to create the illusion of being all-in-one garments, have a number of interesting features. The skirt element of the dress, for example, which is a ‘pencil’ style, features a concealed Velcro opening down one side, making it easier to get into. The floaty sleeves of the top allow room for prosthetics and enable freedom of arm movement for wearers in self-propelled wheelchairs. Two hidden Velcro tabs on the shoulders provide better access to IV catheters and port-a-caths. And yet the dress, when worn, looks no different to any other well-fitted dress you would find on the high street!
Kintsugi’s jeans also take a different approach to traditional design, featuring a slightly higher back (preferable for wheelchair users), side zips that run part way down each side seam for ease of dressing, and pockets by the knees, so that items placed within them sit behind the calf, again a consideration for women in wheelchairs. “It’s tricky to get something out of a pocket when it’s at hip level and you’re sitting down,” Emma explains. “When you’re haven’t experienced physical disability, directly or indirectly, you might not think too much about this kind of thing, but that’s the issue!
“The industry needs to start seeing disabled people as its consumers and actually listening to their thoughts and ideas. Adaptive clothing collections designed exclusively around a disability are necessary in the marketplace, but there are so many fashion lovers out there who don’t want this separate offering, particularly as many of them offer functionality but not style.”
Each item in the collection, which is available in sizes 8 – 20, is named after an influential woman, with public figures including athlete Anne Wafula Strike, actress Samantha Renke, and model Kelly Knox lending their names to pieces in the collection.