Inclusive Fashion Helps Carly Mentally and Physically
Ipswich National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, Carly Tange said discovering the Christina Stephens inclusive clothing range has aided her mobility challenges and has prevented soreness, making her feel more independent, and doing wonders for her mental health.
Carly, 42, who has a psychosocial disability and an autoimmune disorder, affecting her mobility and organs, has difficulty dressing, and was thrilled when she came across Christina Stephen’s – an inclusive online clothing line with garments made specifically with mobility challenges in mind.
“I didn’t even know inclusive clothing was available. I just thought people with disabilities had to deal with regular fashion and try to make it work so I was really happy discovering it,” she said.
“At Christmas I was hospitalised, and when I was discharged I found I had nothing I could wear without feeling discomfort, so I spoke to my planners to discuss possible inclusive funding and I was approved.”
Carly’s condition means she has difficulty moving and regulating her body temperature.
“I have very limited movement in my left shoulder. I can’t reach over my head, but with the inclusive tops I’ve bought from Christina Stephens, the fabric has a lot of elasticity. It’s so variant, so I find having that flexibility really helps.
“I’ve also bought some dress pants and I’ve worked out how to dress independently. I grab my cane, hook the pants up onto my feet, and then pull them up and over my legs. The fabric is so flexible it just works!” Carly said with a laugh.
“Another advantage to inclusive clothing is that it works to keep my body temperature regulated.
“In Ipswich, the temperature varies rapidly from cold and wet to pretty hot. People tend to crank up the air-con, but with my condition it’s difficult to regulate my body temperature and it can lead to all sorts of physical and mental challenges.
“The cool, harshness of the air-con leaves me feeling cold, but now when I wear my long sleeve top, the fabric protects and ventilates my skin from the cold outside and the heat inside, keeping me feeling comfortable all day long.
“I also think these clothes make me look nicer and help me to feel better about myself when I’m out. They feel so good I’ve even started wearing them at home.
“They’re better than the old tracksuit and if someone comes around unannounced, all I have to worry about is fixing my hair,” she said with a laugh.
“I hate shopping at the best of times, especially clothes shopping. Nothing has ever made me feel comfortable, or been made to suit me, or made me feel I look nice.
“I found most fabrics lacked quality, felt uncomfortable on, and if I did buy something I’d have to alter it, and often it would become so irritating I would have to take it off.”
Carly said it was a great feeling to finally discover inclusive, comfortable, practical and stylish clothing, designed for women with her needs in mind.
“When I got the Christina Stephens clothing and I went out in it I just felt so much more confident,” she said.
“Prior to that, I didn’t want to go out. When you look out of the ordinary, you get extra looks and it can knock your confidence, so to be able to wear clothing with my needs in mind, I feel comfortable and nice in, is just a huge bonus,” she said.
The NDIS provides Australians aged under 65, who have a permanent and significant disability with the support they need to live more independently and to increase their social and economic participation. If you are NDIS self-managed or plan managed, and you have allocated clothing funds in your plan, you can purchase them from your Consumables budget under Core Supports.
*Carly has been kind enough to participate in an interview and has chosen to decline the opportunity to provide an image. Thank you Carly for your feedback, thoughts and time. x