British athletes with disabilities could be the most stylish at next year’s Paralympics Games in Rio de Janeiro. And with the help of Swindon charity Dressability, they’re likely to be the most comfortable.
As the only charity in the country that adapts everyday clothing worn by able bodied people for the specific requirements of individuals with disabilities, Dressability was introduced to the British Paralympic Committee by one of its trustees, the BBC journalist and broadcaster Andy Stevenson, who himself is differently able.
Dressability manager Sharon Tombs, above, said: “We were invited to present our experience of adapting clothing so that people with disabilities can wear fashionable clothing which have hidden zips and fastners, or have been tailored so that the waistband of users in wheelchairs don’t rub their backs.”
When the contract to supply day wear for the paralympic athletes was awarded to ASOS, Dressability was asked to act as design consultants.
“Obviously we were really pleased to be asked,” said Sharon. “As a fashion house ASOS have limited experience designing and fitting clothing for people with disabilities so we’re passing on our knowledge built up over 15 years since Sian Barrie founded the charity.
“We’ve met the designers from ASOS to discuss the points they should consider when creating garments for the athletes and will be returning to discuss details as we get nearer the Rio Paralympics in September 2016.”
Fashion show help needed
Dressability is putting on a series of fashion shows at Asda Walmart in North Swindon on 16 and 17 October, with help from members of Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group modelling Asda’s Autumn range.
Volunteers are needed to assist on an information stand and to collect donations. Hair stylists and nail technicians are also invited to offer their skills. For details contact Andrea Hawker on 01793 512878.
Annual General Meeting: The 2015 AGM takes place on Tues 20 October, 12noon to 2pm at the Swindon Therapy Centre for Multiple Sclerosis, Westmead Drive, Westlea SN5 7ER. For details contact Andrea Hawker email@example.com
Top, Dressability manager Sharon Tombs. Below, Dressability AGM in October 2014, from left, Sharon Tombs, trustee Ben Stevenson, chair of trustees Louise Summerton, trustee and paralympic tennis player Louise Hunt, pictured by Richard Wintle of Calyx