Elisa never expected her first Zoom party to be a call filled with media producers, lawyers and even celebrities. Everyone dialled in for one reason – to celebrate Vivian's 40th birthday.
Although Vivian is confined to her bed due to a neuromuscular disease, she was perfectly at ease and independent on the Zoom call. With a device that allowed her to use a computer with eye movements, the online world was Vivian's playground!
In fact, Vivian has gotten so adept at navigating Taobao that she has become quite the online entrepreneur herself. She made a career from seeking out and purchasing items for people online! Her range of offerings continues to expand and react to the changing world, with masks now included in her catalogue the pandemic in motion (check them out here).
We started our journey with Vivian when her friend, Felicia, gifted her our customisation services. One of the first things Elisa noticed during a visit to Vivian's house is Barbie. From stacks of Barbie dolls still in their packaging to colourful Barbie bed sheets, there is no doubt that Barbie is a big part of Vivian's life.
It is also easy to see that Barbie has heavily influenced Vivian's fashion and style. Clothing in shades of pink and purple with lace trims are staples of her wardrobe. While many of these clothes are pretty, there is but one problem – more often than not, Vivian is not able to wear them. At least not without substantial alteration and even then, they might be uncomfortable.
These clothes are part of Vivian's TaoBao haul, and they were not made with Vivian's needs in mind. However, she couldn't resist buying them because of how pretty they were. So, one of the things Vivian knew she wanted right off the bat was to make her clothes accessible and comfortable.
Vivian loved this dress so much that she bought it despite knowing that she would not be able to wear it. We came up with a solution and created another opening so that her mother would be able to help dress her in it.
A customised set was created for Vivian as well. The blouse references from one of her old favourites and the tulle skirt is something that she has always dreamed of wearing.
Since Vivian spends most of her time in bed, a pair of comfortable pyjamas is essential. In the day time, under a fan, the long sleeves of her pyjamas make it too warm but feel just right with the air-conditioning turned on at night. To accommodate with Vivian's lifestyle, we redesigned the pyjama top to have a detachable sleeve.
This allows her to enjoy breezier short-sleeved pyjamas in the day and cozy long-sleeve pyjamas in the night without hassle.
Our sessions with Vivian always lasted way longer than we expect. Vivian is someone who can talk about anything – From her love for Barbie to how her mother made outfits for her soft toys (to protect from the cold, naturally). And it is through these conversations that we became friends with an online entrepreneur with a Barbie obsession, who celebrates her birthday with celebrity friends.