The Able Label Blog
Mothers (and not forgetting Grandmothers) Day is just 10 days away.
Founder Katie tells us how truly inspirational her grandmother has been and how her grandmother triggered the launch of The Able Label clothing.
As a buyer at White Stuff, we’d pride ourselves on creating beautiful, quality clothes that made people happy wearing them. Never did I consider the large numbers of women who found dressing into many high street clothes difficult, or just impossible.
You don’t appreciate the difficulties some people face dressing, until you yourself have experienced or seen it first hand – I certainly didn’t. My grandmother had Parkinson’s and with it lacked strength and dexterity, had reduced mobility and also faced cognitive difficulties.
She’d always tell me how much she hated my grandfather helping her to dress, feeling she was. Losing her dignity. She was also certainly not willing to sacrifice her style either taking great pride in what she wore. It really was a big part of her identity and she did not want to lose this.
From seeing my grandmothers need and going on to speak to many other women in the same position as her, The Able Label was created to bridge the gap between fashion and function.
The Able Label clothes have two key rules:
- no overhead dressing
- no fiddly fastenings
We also use quality, easy care fabrics with high stretch to make dressing easier and have colour coordinated internals to help dress items the right way if you have cognitive difficulties. This is all whilst maintaining style and comfort.
I remember trying clothes on my grandmother to gain feedback and after checking she didn’t mind me doing so, she replied,
No dear, if you can help one other person in the same situation as me, you do what you have to do.
This still resonates with me today and is a key driver behind why we do what we do.
Had it not been for my grandmother, we may never have started the business. She has made us so passionate about helping others to maintain their style and identity as well as independence and dignity.
Like we achieved at White Stuff, The Able Label is making people happy wearing our clothes but, for a whole different reason.
Happy mothers day Grandma, I hope you’re looking down on us with a big smile having seen how far we have grown the business in your name!
To find out more on The Able Label, see our 'About Us' page by clicking here.
If you would like to contact us directly you can:
Phone: 01622 744242 // Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fastenings; something used to attach one thing to another firmly.
All sounds very simple, right? Well, we can assure you it isn’t! There are buttons, buckles, clasps, hook and eye, ties, knots, zips, press studs, hook and loops (better known as velcro), toggles, and the list goes on!
Of all fastenings, buttons have endured as the most common way of securing fabric. But to begin with, they were used only as decoration with the buttonhole not being invented until later on. Like the majority of other fastenings out there, buttons are not however always easy to fasten and can in fact be extremely fiddly or impossible to use. This is especially the case if you have numbness, stiffness or pain in your hands restricting movement and fine motor skills.
Attention to Detail
With attention to detail at the heart of all what we do at The Able Label, we got to thinking - what if we could go back to a time where the button was only used for decoration and an alternative fastening be used to avoid the fiddly notion of securing clothes. You name it, we’ve researched it.
All suitable options which could potentially make dressing less fiddly, we have trialled and tested. Having spent over a year and a half developing and perfecting the collection – we quickly narrowed down hook and loop (velcro) as being the most suitable type of fastening for its ease to open and close. In fact, during our market research, nearly 60% found buttons in particular extremely difficult or impossible to fasten whilst 0% had difficulties with hook and loop.
Attention to Quality
Then to finding the best hook and loop fastening out there on the market and we feel we have it. Some of the key features of the hook and loop fastenings we have carefully sourced include:
- the yarns are of such a high quality, as long as carefully maintained following the garments wash care instructions, ensuring the hook and loop are closed when washing, it will last as long as the item of clothing it is used on.
- it has specifically been designed for frequent opening and closing and is also used by the top sportswear retailers.
- it is a softer hook and loop fastening meaning that the fastening is less likely to snag on other items.
- with a good peel strength but high sheer and tensile strength, the open and close motion is easier requiring less strength however will not come undone through wear even if in seated position for long periods of time which would put greater strain on the fastening.
- the fasteners are coloured as part of The Able Label’s ‘EasyFasten’ system. Just match coordinating colours to secure the fastening – lime for left and red for right.
Within the range, we have several styles, which discretely incorporate this hook and loop fastening, giving you the best of both – function and fashion.
Front Fastening - Imogen Jersey Shirt and Maria Jersey Vest
Both the shirt and vest fasten at the front using our premium hook and loop. The shirt has buttons that are simply for decoration and not for use. Being front fastening, there is no need for overhead dressing.
Wrap Fastening - Su Jersey Wrap Dress and Linda Jersey Wrap Top
All wrap styles are securely fastened with the hook and loop. Fastening to the side, the hook and loop had both been coloured to match – lime for left and red for right to make it easier to align and fasten correctly. To look at, you would not realise the wrap styles had been made easier to dress with fiddly fastenings removed.
To find out more, take a look at our website www.theablelabel.com
Otherwise we always love to hear from you and are very happy for you to contact us directly at email@example.com
One person every hour is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Like my Grandmother who was in her 70’s when diagnosed, most people get the disease aged over 50 however younger people can get it too. She is one of 127,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s as it affects one person in 500.
Tragically, it is a progressive neurological condition, which means she is not going to get better. The disease will not kill her but it will mean that symptoms will only worsen over time.
Parkinson’s is caused when nerve cells inside the brain are killed causing a lack of the chemical, dopamine. Why these cells die is unclear but it can lead several symptoms which will vary from person to person. My Grandmother battles the following physical symptoms daily:
· Slowness of movement
· Rigidity or stiffness, especially after she had stopped for a period of time.
· Shuffling when she walks
· Freezing mid way through tasks which could take up to half an hour to overcome
· Problems sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night, wanting to get up to complete tasks she thought she had forgotten in the day or thinking someone was knocking at the door
· Speech and communication problems came later on as the muscles in her neck weakened making her voice softer and words more difficult to get out
· This also has lead to difficulty swallowing as she now can sadly no longer eat solids
Unlike most with Parkinson’s, she initially had no tremor, which we believe is partly why it took her so long to be diagnosed. Only later on, she acquired a twitch in her neck and slight shakes in her hands when she became more stressed.
She also faces mental symptoms, these include:
· Anxiety as she would constantly worry about tasks she had not done
· Frustration, predominantly caused through the physical symptoms
· Dementia, which came later on and has lead to short-term memory problems. She is not alone with this as up to 80 per cent of those with Parkinson’s develop Parkinson’s dementia
· Hallucination and delusions as she would see things which were not really there like holes in her clothes for example
Currently there are no cures. There are however treatments which can help to maintain quality of life. Drugs can help to restore the level of dopamine and physical therapies can help to manage Parkinson’s through the likes of physiotherapy, speech and language as well as occupational therapy.
My Grandmother gradually became less and less confident going out, aware things like paying at the supermarket checkout, took her longer much to the frustration of other shoppers. Parkinson’s UK empathises with this which is why their campaign this year centred around ‘up your friendly’. They are encouraging everyone to make small changes to their behaviour as it can make the biggest difference to someone living with Parkinson’s disease. This could include putting the kettle on, letting someone go first, holding the door open or like my Grandmother needed, just giving someone the extra time they need without becoming frustrated.
In our case, we are providing Parkinson’s friendly clothes that will be available later this year. Our beautiful clothes inspired by my Grandmother are specifically designed to make dressing easier considering things like stiffness, slowness of movement and shakes. All the things regular clothing fails to consider which as was the case with my Grandmother, can add to frustration and feelings of isolation.
For Parkinson UK’s free and confidential helpline for further help and advice call 0808 800 0303.
The versatile top can also be worn open as a cardigan style she is so versatile!
Here’s what has been said about Stella,