Glamour, confidence, and disability.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Thank you for checking in to see what’s new and exciting with Classy Little Fashions Foundation!

DSC_3488Being this unique organization’s spokesmodel provides endless opportunities to meet new people and engage in meaningful activities that enrich the lives of outgoing adults with disabilities. This is a welcomed change for me because I have not always been an active member of the disabled community.

Many years ago, when I was still trying to figure out how to be a confident and successful woman with a disability, I participated in the Ms. Wheelchair Ohio pageant. Although I didn’t win the crown, I made lasting memories and had a fabulous time. That was my first experience interacting with a group of women who were truly my peers. It was an empowering step toward becoming the woman I am today.

Now, I get to support other women with disabilities on their exciting journey! On July 28th & 29th, I will have the honor of being a judge at the Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant, sponsored by the Dane Foundation. The mission of this pageant is to promote glamour, self-confidence, and community service…celebrating the achievements of women with disabilities.

Please come join in the fun and support these amazing women! If you can’t be there in person, do not dispair because it will be live-streamed on YouTube! For further details, visit Ms. Wheelchair USA on Facebook. Also, I will be debuting Classy Little Fashions Foundation’s hottest new exclusive designs!

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Keepin’ it classy,

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

Beauty innovators collaborate

Dear friends and supporters,

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Model is wearing exclusive CLFF design jeans with an altered and embellished crop. Photo by Alternative Noise Productions

The definition of the word “beauty” is expanding and we couldn’t be more excited! For far too long people with disabilities were left out of the world of fashion and beauty because it wasn’t accessible to us. However, thanks to collaborative efforts like (dis)Abled Beauty, that’s all changing.

What started many years ago as a woman’s desire for a stylish cochlear implant (CI) and her friendship with a fashion major, lead to the manifestation of (dis)Abled Beauty.

Tameka Ellington, assistant professor of fashion at Kent State University and Stacey Lim, assistant professor of audiology at Central Michigan University are friends and co-curators of this groundbreaking exhibit.

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(dis)Abled Beauty

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to see the (dis)Abled Beauty exhibit recently, which is currently at the Kent State University museum. It was amazing! Several niche fashion designers, entrepreneurs, and organizations are developing innovative methods of meeting the complex fashion needs of people with disabilities.

The exhibit includes high style prosthetic covers by ALLELS studio, jeans designed for people with Down Syndrome by Downs Designs, shirts with magnetic buttons for those with dexterity impairments by Runway of Dreams, and stylish clothes for adults with asymmetrical body-types due to physical disability by Classy Little Fashions Foundation.

That’s right! We are part of the exhibit!

There will be an ALLELS reception and lecture on February 18th at the Bit Factory and Spectrum Gallery in Akron, Ohio. The event is free and open to the public. It will be an excellent opportunity to hear what some of the artists and technologists have to say about their work. In representing Classy Little Fashions Foundation, I will be among the panel of lecturers and I am ecstatic! For further details about this exciting event, see the (dis)Abled Beauty press release.

 

Keepin’ it classy,

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

We’re a classy family

Dear friends and supporters,

Get comfortable folks because we have some exciting updates to share with you!

First, back in May, Classy Little Fashions Foundation turned two years old! It’s amazing how fashion disparities for professionals with disabilities evolved into a problem solving organization. You can learn more about our history by following this link.

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Second, thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, we were able to purchase a heavy-duty Bernina sewing machine that allows us to now easily construct leather accessories for clients — such as holsters, shoes, belts, and bags. (We will keep you updated on the timelines.)

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Last but not least, our third exciting bit of news is…we now share production lines with Lilly Fiona Designs! An Apparel Design and Manufacturing student at Texas Tech University, Alicia McDonald, is the founder and sole designer behind this rising star label.

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If her name sounds familiar to you, it’s because Alicia has been CLFF’s dedicated intern for the past year. While her career is moving forward, she is still a member of the Classy Little Fashions Foundation family. By sharing production lines with her label, CLFF will benefit from shared equipment and we’ll continue to have access to the creative design genius herself.

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Alicia is just returning from a whirlwind, three-week fashion tour of Europe and we are excited to see the new line she has been working on as she travels.

We will have more exciting announcements in the very near future, so remember to come back to our blog often!

Keepin’ it classy!

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

Turning fashion challenges into fashion victories

Hi there, classy friends!

Back in December, we hosted a really fun Twitter Chat event. The topic of course was…FASHION! Participants were great about sharing their personal fashion victories as well as challenges.

Sometimes overcoming a fashion challenge for a person with a physical disability is very simple. It doesn’t always require reinventing the wheel.

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Model: Reveca Torres Photo by: Kiki Conant

One participant, Reveca Torres, raved how one clothing retailer turned her fashion challenge into a fashion victory by hemming her awesome new yoga pants for her – free of charge!

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Model: Reveca Torres Photo by: Kiki Conant

The praise-worthy retailer is, Athleta! They specialize in women’s active wear and offer a variety of body positive sizes that includes Plus, Petite, and Tall. Also, they will hem your pants if you need them to!

This week’s fashion accessibility shout out goes to, Athleta!

Keepin’ it classy,

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

p.s. What could your favorite clothing retailer do to help turn your fashion challenges into fashion victories?

How One Donor Doubled His Donation

Hi there, classy friends!

We received such a generous gift recently, that we are oozing with gratitude and can’t wait to tell you all about it!

One of our supporters, Alan Washington, is one of my dearest friends from college and now works for Citizens Bank. Before making his donation to Classy Little Fashions Foundation, he asked his employer if they have a Matching-Gifts program. To our good fortune, they do!

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Alan Washington – Facilitator at Citizens Bank

That means, Alan’s generous gift of $500 turned into $1,000! This money will be used to buy fabric and offset the cost of a much needed sewing machine repair.

Colorful fabrics on sale

Currently, our donations total $2,196. We are still a distance from meeting our ultimate goal of $12,000. With innovative supporters like you though, we will surely reach our goal!

Thank you Alan and Citizens Bank!

Keepin’ it classy,

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

p.s. Does your employer offer a Matching-Gifts program?

Jillian Mercado, sassy and classy

Happy Monday, classy friends!

This week’s fashion accessibility shout out goes to a remarkable woman who rolled onto the fashion scene by paving her own way with her fashion blog, Manufactured 1987.

Jillian Mercado’s sparkling personality, edgy style, and huge social media following keep her moving fashion forward.

In 2014 she modeled for Diesel’s “modern-day rebels, heroes and just cool people” campaign. It was hugely successful. This put images of a fashion model that is also a wheelchair-user in multiple mainstream publications.

Things didn’t slow down for Mercado in 2015. That is when she signed on with IMG Models, which is the international leader in model management and talent discovery.

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This is what Jillian Mercado has to say about Classy Little Fashions Foundation. “Feeling great in your own skin is such a great feeling and Jane wants everyone to feel that way too through Classy Little Fashions Foundation

By doing what Mercado is doing…living her authentic-self and busting through barriers, she is teaching those in the fashion industry how to work with models that have disabilities. This is one of the many reasons she deserves a fashion accessibility shout out!

Keepin’ it classy,

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

Rolling forward with Rolli-Moden!

Happy Monday, classy friends!

Are you excited to find out who this week’s fashion accessibility shout out goes to? I’m sure excited to tell you!

The fashion requirements of people with disabilities are as unique as our personalities. With this many untapped niche markets, there is no way one company or nonprofit could fulfill everyone’s fashion needs. That’s why Classy Little Fashions Foundation strives to be a team player by promoting others who are making fashion more accessible.

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It is very inspiring to see that this fashion accessibility trend is going global! This week’s shout out goes to a company based in Germany, called Rolli-Moden! They sell functional and fashionable clothing and accessories for average sized men and women who are wheelchair-users.

Please share this post on your social media platforms with the hashtag #FashionAccessibility and help keep this movement rolling forward!

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Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director / photo by Alternative Noise Productions

Keepin’ it classy,

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

Jeans of our dreams are becoming a reality!

Happy Leap Day, classy friends!

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CLFF Exclusive Design – cuffed & scruffed jeans

As I sit here wearing my favorite pair of jeans, I am reminded what an exciting time in fashion history this is. Trendy and timely clothing is finally becoming accessible to men, women, and children with disabilities.

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CLFF Exclusive Design – Embroidered trim jeans

While Classy Little Fashions Foundation has mastered the art of designing fashionable jeans for small statured adults with asymmetrical body types, there are numerous other niche’ markets to be filled.

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CLFF Exclusive Design – cuffed & scruffed jeans

 

ABL Denim is an innovative company that designs jeans for people with limited mobility and sensory integration disorders. Check out the videos below and see what their customers, who include Angela Rockwood, have to say about ABL Denim.

Keepin’ it classy,

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

Makeup Accessibility

Hey there, all you classy fashionistas!

As I am sure you know, an integral part of looking fabulous is feeling fabulous. We may not always be conscious of it but the way others perceive us is often a reflection of how we perceive ourselves. So, ask yourself, what makes you feel fabulous?

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photo by Alternative Noise Productions / Faux leather pants, exclusive CLFF design

For me, having tailor made clothes that showcase my best physical attributes definitely gives my self-esteem a boost. Another important factor that contributes to my soaring confidence level is the ability to do things myself. Simple things, complex things, all kinds of things! I find the feeling of independence to be empowering and sexy beyond compare!

Let me tell you a story. It may seem trivial to many makeup enthusiasts but those of you with physical impairments will likely understand. I accept the fact that I can’t open my front door, my refrigerator, or even a bottle of water by myself. However, not being able to open my shiny new makeup products irritates me to no end!

The ability to open and apply my own makeup without any assistance really helps me get in a confident state of mind to tackle my list of goals for the day ahead of me. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my favorite cosmetic manufacturer, Urban Decay, for helping me look and feel amazing.

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photo by Alternative Noise Productions Co-Founding Director, Jane Hash & her Hair Stylist…Jeremy from Skullz Salon

My trend-setting Hair Stylist is responsible for turning me on to this awesome company. He posted several photos of the products he uses to create his glam rocker persona on social media. Urban Decay was featured more than once. The products looked so amazing on him that I had to get my own stash!

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photo by Alternative Noise Productions

When I went scrolling through the Urban Decay website to make my selection, the 80’s teenager in me began to scream when I saw the Electric Palette! The heavily pigmented bright colors are amazing and I had to have it immediately! I turned into a giddy 13 year-old when it arrived at my door.

My PCA (Personal Care Assistant) took the beautiful palette out of the box and laid it on my dressing table before me. As I gazed at it I felt my frustration starting to kick in, assuming I’ll never be able to pick this bulky palette up or open it.

Like most things though, I gave it a try before admitting defeat. To my surprise, the palette is not as heavy as it looks. It is very light weight and durable. As I flipped it around in my hands, trying to figure out what I need to push, pull, or twist to get this treasure open, I realized it uses a magnetic closure. It takes very little effort to open it. I can do it myself! I have already dropped this beautiful palette four times and it still looks new!

Thank you Urban Decay for making an amazing and accessible makeup palette. I hope to see more makeup products designed with disabled customers in mind because everyone deserves the opportunity to feel beautiful!

Keepin’ it classy,

Jane Hash, Co-Founding Director

Learning Curves

One of Classy Little Fashions Foundation’s goals is to promote body positivity. Designing fashionable clothing, tailored to the specific requirements of our Classy Clients, is one important step we take in reaching this goal – in fact, it’s what we are best known for!

Biz Jane

Having stylish, comfortable clothing that fits properly is guaranteed to facilitate confidence, especially within the professional who has difficulty finding affordable custom clothing appropriate for the workplace. The path to obtaining a positive body image doesn’t end with simply having a chic new wardrobe though. There are other elements to consider and we are always eager to learn new ways of making a Classy Client feel empowered and comfortable in his/her own skin.

Recently, Classy Little Fashions Foundation hosted a #FashionWish Twitter Party. Our co-hosts for this classy event were Reveca Torres, Andrew Morrison-Gurza, Sarah Della, and Mitchell Dunnam. We have found that Twitter Parties, with an awesome line-up of co-hosts, are really a fun way to learn more about the needs and wants of those our organization serves.

The most significant lesson we learned from our recent Twitter Party is the importance of diversifying our language. In the context of fashion, there is no established terminology for describing the unique bodies that we clothe; there is only medical terminology, which is not appropriate or empowering for most. In a sense, we are pioneering new terminology.

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Thus far, we have described the population we cater to as having a “non-standard body type due to physical disability.” However, at our #FashionWish Twitter Party, some participants voiced that “non-standard” may be considered negative instead of empowering. It was further suggested that we employ the use of the word “asymmetrical” instead.

We understand the old adage, “You can please some of the people all of the time. You can please all of the people some of the time. But, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” In our mission to promote body positivity, we do our very best to be sensitive and respectful to the population we cater to. Therefore, expect to see more use of the term “asymmetrical” and less use of “non-standard.”