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Beauty innovators collaborate

Dear friends and supporters,

fashion model

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.

(dis)Abled Beauty

(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

Photo of Alicia McDonald

Intern inspires partnership between Texas Tech and Classy Little Fashions Foundation

In addition to The Fashion School at Kent State University and the College of the Ouachitas, Classy Little Fashions Foundation can now add the The Apparel Design and Manufacturing Program through the Department Of Design at Texas Tech University to their list of academic partnerships.

To gain experience before graduation, Apparel Design & Manufacturing students at Texas Tech are required to do an internship. When Alicia McDonald (a junior) learned of Classy Little Fashions Foundation, she immediately wanted to get involved and inquired about obtaining an internship with the nonprofit.

Co-Director of CLFF, Carol E. Briney, traveled from Canton, Ohio to Lubbock, Texas over the holidays and met with the Director of the ADM Program at Texas Tech, Dr. Robin Robinson. In hearing Briney’s presentation of Classy Little Fashions Foundation’s mission to fulfill fashion wishes for adults with non-standard body types due to physical disability, Dr. Robinson was eager to offer support and approved McDonald’s internship.

All parties involved are very excited about the learning, teaching, and fashion outcomes of this academic partnership! McDonald’s first goal of her internship is designing a bohemian inspired collection called “Freedom To Dream” that will be exclusive to CLFF. The collection will be unveiled this spring.

Below is a brief Q&A with Classy Little Fashions Foundation’s intern, Alicia McDonald.

CLFF: What inspired you to seek an Internship with Classy Little Fashions Foundation?

I am excited to be able to collaborate with my mother (Carol E. Briney). I think it is great to help the people around you to be successful, and for the opportunity to be able to build my new career as well as an organization that my mother has helped to launch, would be a great joy.

I am equally excited to go through the ropes, as an intern, of what it takes to create a collection, and to be a part of the research of creating a collection for a population that fashion has neglected.

CLFF: Tell us how you started designing clothing.

I started drafting my own patterns when I moved away from home at 22/23. My mom said I could take her beloved Bernina sewing machine with me if I promised to take classes. I promised but I decided to wing it. I’d draw pictures of what I wanted and then take my measurements and draft a pattern onto Newspapers I’d taped together. I got pretty good results, and as I’d learn more, I’d take previous projects apart and make the corrections… Eventually, on a trip home, my mom taught me how to use a commercial pattern. By using commercial patterns, I gained the knowledge of how certain garments might look as a flat pattern and it just rounded out my understanding. I’ve always been expressive through style. I believe that beauty, in all senses, evokes a positive response from the world around us. I love texture, kitschy patterns, colors of all shades and I love to toss it all together in an interesting and beautiful composition. It is important to me that everyone has that opportunity to be expressive and confident through fashion/style, and that is where my involvement with CLFF begins.