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News: I want to spread a bit of hap­pi­ness” — dial­y­sis patient designs acces­si­ble fashion

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Jade Carter with her collection of accessible fashion
Jade Carter with her collection of accessible fashion

Nearly 1 in 5 people in England and Wales have a disability, with spending power of around £200 billion a year between them and their families*. Yet many products on the market aren’t designed with this in mind, leaving people with long-term illnesses and disabilities often struggling to access them.

One Not­ting­ham woman is doing her bit to cham­pi­on acces­si­ble fash­ion, by design­ing her own range of cloth­ing, after she found it dif­fi­cult to find high street clothes that worked for her needs.

Jade Carter from Rise Park is a fash­ion stu­dent at Not­ting­ham Col­lege, and she has cysti­nosis, a rare con­di­tion which affects only around 2000 peo­ple in the world. 

For 26-year-old Jade, this has meant a range of health prob­lems devel­op­ing over the years, includ­ing hav­ing to under­go a kid­ney trans­plant, and hav­ing to be on and off dial­y­sis through­out her life so far. 

Jade’s foun­da­tion degree in fash­ion design gave her the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate a range of cloth­ing, aimed at young peo­ple going through dial­y­sis, for her final major project. The designs incor­po­rate spe­cial fas­ten­ings that allow access to med­ical equip­ment but form part of the over­all look. 

She’s now hop­ing that rais­ing aware­ness of this will encour­age high street retail­ers to devel­op more lines for peo­ple with long-term ill­ness­es and dis­abil­i­ties. Jade drew upon her own expe­ri­ences as a young dial­y­sis patient to design her range.

Dial­y­sis patients need easy access to lines, fis­tu­las and grafts, but I think young peo­ple real­ly want warm, com­fy cloth­ing that is also pos­i­tive and helps them feel good. 

I’ve designed a range of cloth­ing that has bright colours and a mod­ern design, with zips and fas­ten­ings to allow easy access to med­ical lines, but also look attractive. 

I’d love for high street retail­ers to get on board so we could see more acces­si­ble cloth­ing on the high street and online, as that’s where most peo­ple shop. 

Jade Carter — Fash­ion degree student

Jade’s cloth­ing col­lec­tion was designed to be suit­able for peo­ple on dial­y­sis as well as the main­stream mar­ket. The col­lec­tion fea­tures an abstract line draw­ing of a face and four bold colours which Jade hopes will appeal to young peo­ple on dial­y­sis and their friends too.

I believe it is impor­tant to focus on some­thing you’re pas­sion­ate about, espe­cial­ly when you have health prob­lems, or your whole life will become about your illness. 

Dial­y­sis is dif­fi­cult, hav­ing to have nee­dles put in your arm four times a week along with the renal diet and flu­id retrac­tion. So I believe hav­ing some­thing along­side of this is important. 

 — Jade

Although Jade often feels very poor­ly due to her con­di­tion, she works hard to keep with her stud­ies, and is now work­ing towards a BA (Hons) art and design top-up degree. 

Being a stu­dent at Not­ting­ham Col­lege has helped me con­cen­trate and be free about what I’m pas­sion­ate about. Doing this through art and fash­ion with help from amaz­ing Lec­tur­ers, who believe in what you believe in, has changed my life, and now I’m on the path of a future doing what I believe in. 

 — Jade

Kathy Stead­man, Course Leader for the Fash­ion Foun­da­tion Degree at Not­ting­ham Col­lege, said: Jade has been an inspi­ra­tional stu­dent who has always delivered.

In fact, teach­ing her helped me to fur­ther devel­op my teach­ing style and resources, as she could­n’t always attend class­es and work in tra­di­tion­al ways. Ini­tial phone videos have devel­oped into more tech­ni­cal demon­stra­tion videos which are a valu­able resource for all students.

It’s great to see the design­ers of the future devel­op­ing ideas on their course that could help widen the diver­si­ty of fash­ion on the high street.”

Jade’s part­ner, 24-year-old Jay Jack­son, has sup­port­ed her both per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly, and they have togeth­er set up a small web­site we​-are​-able​.co​.uk and they are now tak­ing orders for basic t‑shirts with her own design print­ed on. Jade chose the name able to describe her col­lec­tion and sub­se­quent web­site and t‑shirt business. 

Able 2Croplscape
Jay, Jade's partner, in one of her designs

Obvi­ous­ly hav­ing a health con­di­tion is part of you, but it doesn’t make you any dif­fer­ent from any­one else in terms of being able to achieve. That’s where the inspi­ra­tion for the name came from. 

 — Jade

Jade plans to donate prof­its from the sale of her print­ed t‑shirts to her local dial­y­sis unit. 

Published on:
  • 3rd December 2018 (8:30 AM)
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