Accessible Clothing for Disability

Being a leading NDIS provider of respite care on the Gold Coast, we are all too aware of the challenges most people take for granted. Take getting dressed, for example, we get up and throw on any clothing without problems or issues, but for many people in the disabled community, this is a considerable challenge.

Adaptive Clothing 

Over the recent years, we have seen some progress in adapted clothing; for example, zips and Velcro are often easier to cope with than buttons, but there is a lot more to be done, so it is amazingly refreshing when we see someone who can genuinely make a difference. While leading clothing manufacturers have managed to create some ranges, there is nothing like speaking from experience or, in the case of Funmi Lawal, designing from personal experience after suffering a health setback when her second child was born. 

Life Changing Experience 

Lawal was diagnosed with preeclampsia, which was not a huge surprise as she also had the same problem during her first pregnancy. This meant her care was deemed a high priority and hospitalised appropriately. Initially, it seemed as though everything had worked out fine, and she delivered a healthy baby girl. However, seven days later, things took a sinister turn. She describes how she woke up with the worst headache, untouched by paracetamol. Concerned, she roused her husband just before passing out. She did not regain consciousness again for 24 hours, leaving her husband to call the ambulance. While unconscious, medics could determine that she had suffered a stroke and a severe brain bleed. 

When her heart stopped during a CT scan, things went from bad to worse, and her family were told to prepare for the worst. Even if she survived, doctors warned that she would be a wheelchair user. She was transferred to a specialist hospital and had emergency surgery to keep her alive. When she finally woke up, she couldn’t walk or talk, and her right side was paralysed. Thankfully over the course of a year, she recovered a lot of her ability and, using crutches and a wheelchair, was able to regain her life, but 20 years on, she still considers herself partially disabled.

Clothing was an Issue 

One of the things she found most frustrating during the recovery was getting dressed and mainly when it came to underwear. Determined to break the taboo surrounding talking openly about the issue, she designed Clip Knix. Underpants for women that clip on. She explains, “With Clip Knix, you don’t have to bend or stretch to put on your underwear – you stand, sit, or lie (whatever is comfortable); pass the gusset through your legs and fasten the knickers at the side using hooks or buttons. The revolutionary garments are now on sale across Australia and the US and six Amazon marketplace territories. She aims to “allow people with mobility issues to gracefully maintain their dignity, but most importantly, it gives them a boost of confidence that makes life a happier experience. They’re organic cotton and lace, and they’re sexy, too – they feel like a luxury that those with limited mobility deserve!”

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