The Heart in Art | The Straits Times

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Clothes designed for people with disabilities

Nobody likes wearing ill-fitting clothes, but the effects are worse for those who rely on wheelchairs.

Thick materials can cause pressure sores and the lack of airflow caused by sitting for long hours regularly results in a heat rash, among other things.

The Straits Times featured photo
From left: Ms Elisa Lim, Ms Caroline Justine and Ms Ethrisha Liaw hope to establish their brand, Will & Well, which will focus on clothes that look good and are also tailored to fit the needs of those with disabilities. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

"The collection aims to dress people with disabilities in clothes that not only look good, but are also tailored to fit their needs. Geometric prints break up the form of the wearer, allowing him or her to appear more proportionate, despite differences in posture or body shape."


For their graduation project, Ms Elisa Lim, 23, Ms Caroline Justine, 22, and Ms Ethrisha Liaw, 23, who are graduating fashion studies students from LaSalle College of the Arts, are trying to come up with a solution.

Titled 1000 mph, the project is a fashion collection that aims to dress people with disabilities in clothes that not only look good, but are also tailored to fit their needs.

Geometric prints break up the form of the wearer, allowing him or her to appear more proportionate, despite differences in posture or body shape. Soft, natural textiles such as cotton do not trap heat.

Such designs fulfil a need that is not met by commercial brands, said the students.

"Fashion as a whole needs to better reflect the people it serves, to represent the world as it actually is," said Ms Liaw.

The trio involved in the project have different specialisations.

Ms Liaw and Ms Lim are from different majors in the Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Fashion Design and Textiles course, while Ms Justine is from another degree course - Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Fashion Media and Industries.

What bound the women together was their experiences working with clients who have disabilities and the difference they feel they are able to make.

"Not only do you have to be a designer, you have to really know and understand the user's needs," said Ms Lim.

The students are pursuing this project full time upon graduation and have plans to establish their brand, Will & Well, which will focus on inclusive fashion for people with disabilities.

The reception so far has been positive.

"Our users told us we're only allowed to have a one-week break before coming back to make more clothes for them," said Ms Lim.

Original article published on The Straits Times, with the headline "The heart in art".

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