Caring for the Caregiver | Shalom
Usually, when it comes to casting models for a photo shoot, we have to actively ask around and sheepishly scout people to lend us their beautiful smiles (and body). So, it was a welcome surprise when Shalom wrote in and offered to be a model. Shalom first learnt about Will & Well through an article and was moved to write in and offer his help in any way that he can. Unfortunately, we had just wrapped up our last shoot and didn’t get a chance to feature Shalom.
Though, that was only the beginning of our journey with Shalom.
As a person with muscular dystrophy, Shalom realised that his dressing process could be quite taxing for his caregiver. Because of this, he decided to shower on alternate days (unless he has physical activities) to make things easier for his caregiver. Shalom came to us with a request for customised apparels – ones that would be easier for his caregiver to help him put on, plus, suitable to wear it for sleep and for a day out.
The Anywhere Materials
Making clothes that would work well anywhere meant starting with materials that would work well anywhere. 'Anywhere in Singapore' essentially means in the hot and humid outdoors one moment and a cooling air-conditioned building the next. Taking this into consideration, we chose to use Egyptian Cotton fabric for his pants and Linen fabric for his shirt.
Teamwork in the Toilet
Going to the toilet may be a natural daily routine but it is also a daily obstacle for Shalom and his caregiver. Taking cues from how Shalom’s caregiver assists him in the toilet, we realized that our FrontSlit tech would allow Shalom to slip in and out of his pants easily. In addition to that, we noticed the importance of zipper placement for the caregiver and introduced a two-way zip to the pants. This would allow Shalom’s caregiver to easily access different parts of the pants throughout the dressing process.
Sleeves on Demand
The other dressing challenge for Shalom and his caregiver is navigating long sleeves shirts. With long and narrow sleeves, it takes Shalom quite a bit of time to get his arms through to the opening at the end of the ‘tunnel’. To tackle that, we applied FrontSlit on the sleeves as well – a short, concealed zipper along the seam line under the sleeve. This meant that Shalom could put on the shirt like a sleeveless top and zip it up after to complete the long sleeve shirt.
A Role Model
Shalom is a reminder that the relationship between a caregiver and a care receiver isn’t a one way street. Even though a caregiver’s primary role is to provide care, a thoughtful care receiver can bring much needed relief and support as well. Shalom’s good intentions also demonstrates the need for us to design not only for the person wearing the garment, but also for the people around them.
P.S.: Shalom finally got the chance to be a model for Will & Well – this time in his customised pieces and a photoshoot at home. We hope this photoshoot was a good experience for his caregiver too!