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The fashion brand making accessible clothing

Victoria Jenkins
Victoria Jenkins Image credit: cambridge-news.co.uk

A new clothing company has temporary set up shop at The Grafton Centre, Cambridge providing accessible clothes for people with disabilities.

Over the next three months Unhidden will be selling fashionwear for those who find standard clothing a bit too fiddley.

Founder and CEO of Unhidden, Victoria Jenkins (pictured above), knows only too well the barriers some disabled people face trying to purchase suitable clothes having her own health issues caused by gastrointestinal conditions.

She told Cambridgeshire Live: "I'm now a disability advocate and speaker, which I have only really taken to recently.

"It has absolutely been impacted by my journey.

"It was while I was in hospital in 2016 when I met a fellow patient who inspired me to start Unhidden.

"She had to take everything off every time the doctors came round.

"In general life, she could only really wear jogging bottoms and a t-shirt which mentally for her was not very fun and was still very restrictive."

Victoria started researching accessible clothes which were available to buy, but there were few and far between.

The ones which were on the market weren’t “especially stylish, very elderly and medical looking."

Hence why Victoria launched Unhidden, offering trendy and fashionable clothes for people with disabilities.

The range includes trousers for wheelchair users which don’t rise up when you sit down and don’t have any seams or pockets which can cause soars if a person has to sit for a long period of time and a looser material which makes it easier to put on the clothing and more suitable if a catheter needs to be fitted.

There are also dresses and shirts with openings for people with diabetes need to inject themselves with insulin.

The shirts can be customised with magnetic fastenings making life easier for people with arthritis, cerebral palsy or stroke patients.

Victoria said: "I didn't realise how much I would've benefited from adaptive design as I'd just never heard of it before.

"I studied fashion design and it's never covered and is still very rare for it to be covered now.

"If we're not talking to fashion designers about inclusive design when they're studying and learning about it then it will be very difficult for it to become standard and normalised.

"Adaptive clothing is the last fashion of the fashion revolution, inclusive design is very lacking in this country."

She added:  "One in five people have a disability and the UK high-street loses £267 million a month by not being accessible.

"But also because they don't have products that are specifically targeted at people with disabilities.

"We're not very represented as it is, we have something like two to three per cent coverage in media globally, which given that we're actually 50 per cent of the world's population is not ideal."

"What I'm trying to do with Unhidden is get positive representation and show fashion can be fun and should be fun and can be something everyone can enjoy."

Unhidden was founded in 2016 and launched in November of last year.