The Able Label Blog
We have had an incredible year over at The Able Label. From so many amazing milestones, we have pin pointed a few of our stand-out moments and achievements!
Live life to its fullest in comfort and style with easier dressing.
Autumn is here and so too is our new collection of easy-dress clothing to see you into this transitional period, also covering you right through the winter months to come.
Our clothing aims to help all women look good in the most comfortable quality fabrics that are all designed to be easier to dress into and out of. Our clever little touches make a big difference to day-to-day living, in comfort and style.
The Kent County Show is an annual event showcasing farming, countryside and rural life. The show brings together the very best of Kent with animals and food, fun and excitement and above all, a flavour of what ’The Garden of England’ has to offer. The three-day event saw over 90,000 visitors, 400 exhibitors and trade stands and over 300 competitions, activities and displays this year.
The Able Label proudly exhibited with a stand in The Wrinkly Roadshow Hub Marquee. A brand new addition at the Kent County Show this year, the hubs aim was to provide advice, information and support in order to maintain independent living. All those with stands in the marquee had the same goal of helping people to live independent lives.
Exhibitors showing alongside The Able Label clothing included:
CROP – a charity setup to help with citizen rights for older people as well as with technology or any problem that may require a second opinion or some intervention from an experienced volunteer to help out
Home Instead Senior Care - supporting loved ones to stay safe at home without losing any personal freedom. This leaves family members feeling happy and confident that their loved ones are enjoying the highest standards of care at all times
The Family Funeral Service in Maidstone – a small independent funeral company
Argo Life & Legacy – provides advice, guidance and support to help you plan for the future whilst dealing with the present. Wanting to help you achieve your wishes, lighten the stress and strain that comes with age, affluence or ill health.
Audley Homes – retirement villages that enable you to stay firmly in control, with complete freedom and independence to live the life you choose. Own your own retirement home, in a beautiful and secure environment, without having to give up the things you love, including your pets. Plus, you have the added luxury of having your gardens and property maintained for you.
Domus Live-In Care – offers a professional, reliable service, providing 24 hour care and support to clients in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own homes
Centra – have a wide range of care and support services to protect their customers’ individual needs, safety and independence. Through their breadth and depth of experience and resources, they deliver quality services to meet individual needs
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Services – a not for profit charitable organisation that aims to enable people with dementia to remain in their own home for as long as possible
Oakhouse Foods – with a reputation for quality, great value and a caring service, they have become one of the country’s favourite ready meal services delivering food straight to your door.
The Garden of England Homecare – aims to raise the standards and quality of social care provision in Kent, by providing the highest quality of care to all their service users regardless of status in accordance with the Equalities Act 2010.
It was great fun showing alongside all of these exhibitors, learning more about the great services they offer to encourage independence.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to those of you who were able to come down and see us at the show. It was a fantastic event, which enabled us to let more people know about the range of easier dressing clothes we provide to encourage independence and grow self-confidence through self-dressing.
If you know anyone who may benefit from The Able Label’s range of adaptive clothing, please help to share our details:
As we enter into the New Year and wave farewell to 2015, The Able Label reflects on the year gone by. It has been quite an action packed 12 months for us, which we would like to share with you.
The year hasn’t been without its downs too though. Sadly Founder Katie’s grandmother passed away. She was unable to see the first range that was inspired by her own difficulties faced dressing with Parkinson’s. We are sure you’ll agree that if she were still around, she would be incredibly proud of Katie and The Able Label.
Despite this, there have been many highlights this year including go live with the first collection, attending several leading tradeshow and also having some great feedback from the likes of Joanna Lumley!
The Designs Finalised
Working with some of the best designers, garment technologists and factories around, we finalised our first range of adaptive clothing, which looks great but also makes dressing easier too.
The Final Samples
After several trips to and from our factory in Portugal and many focus groups with customers and occupational therapist later, we got our final samples through. Thrilled with them and the positive feedback we received, we proceeded into production.
We had our first ever photoshoot and met with some incredibly inspiring individuals who volunteered to model for us wanting easier to dress clothes but with style still very important to them. We had some of the industries best hair and makeup artists working on making them over and a leading photographer photographing them. We went on to put the images into our first catalogue which can be found on our website http://www.theablelabel.com/catalogue_a/278.htm
We have had lots of positive feedback and list the best couple for you below. More can be found on our website http://www.theablelabel.com/testimonials_a/256.htm
'Many congratulations to Katie for this range of easy to get into clothes which are stylish and attractive and which I hope will become the mainstay of many wardrobes.'
'It is so nice to see someone has actually considered dressing when designing a clothing range. I ordered three vests and the quality is gorgeous! My son who is visiting even commented saying how beautiful they looked. No longer will I need to cut myself out of vests as these front fasten with velcro.'
-Mrs Harris, aged 84, from Reading
We had the opportunity to meet Lord Young and show him some of The Able Label’s easy dress clothing collection at Enterprising Women Event held at The British Library.
Several major tradeshows were attended where we were able to showcase the innovative collection including The Care Show and OT Show held at Birmingham NEC and also RehaCare International held in Dusseldorf.
We have featured in The Mail on Sunday, Saga Magazine, The Lady Magazine, The OT Magazine, Thiis Trade Magazine and Arthritis Care’s Inspire Magazine to name but a few. We even had our product rated 5/5 in Able Magazine.
So as you can see, the year as been action packed for us and we look forward to the same in 2016 - brining out more desirable designs that also make dressing easier. Let's toast to an exciting year ahead!
Know someone stylish but finds dressing difficult in regular high street clothes?
Give them the most thoughtful yet practical of gifts this Christmas with The Able Label gift vouchers. This way, you don't have to worry about getting the right item as they can choose their perfect to easy-to-dress piece themselves.
Gift vouchers come beautifully presented in paper form and could not be simpler to order and use.
Once ordered over the phone or online, we will post the gift voucher to either you or directly to the lucky recipient. To use the gift voucher, simply reference the long number on the back of the voucher when placing an order online or via the phone.
Give loved ones something they really want this Christmas.
Gift vouchers can be ordered:
Through the website at http://www.theablelabel.com/giftvouchers-s/140.htm
By calling us on 01622 828994
Here at The Able Label, we are in full swing for Christmas.
Get yourself ready for the party season. What ever the occasion, whether it be lunch/dinner out or a work Christmas party, we have the dress for you - Su Jersey Wrap Dress.
This is not any ordinary dress though, it has been specifically designed to make dressing into and out of it easier. The wrap style can be fully opened meaning no more difficult or painful overhead dressing! Raglan sleeves also make it easier to manoeuvre your way into arm holes.
Available in three colours - dragon red, shibori navy and gingko print navy, we feel the dragon red is the perfect option for the festive season in the rich red shade.
They come in a wide range of sizes from 8-22.
There is also a top version of this wrap style available - Linda Jersey Wrap Top.
Complete the look with some head turning jewellery. To wear with the Su Jersey Wrap Dress in Dragon Red, we recommend the Sandra Pearl Drop Magnetic Necklace also in Dragon Red. Being magnetic, it is easier to fasten meaning no more fiddly clasps to battle! Please be reminded though that magnetic jewellery cannot be worn if you have a pacemaker.
We hope you find the perfect dress this festive season which is functional and fashionable.
The OT Show
The Able Label will proudly be showing alongside Access Independent at The OT Show next week on stand B34. We will also be showcasing the clothing at the Innovation Centre at 10:15am each day so hope to see you there.
Exciting Opportunity for OT's!
If you are an OT wanting more from your role, keen to learn and develop and seeking a fun new challenge - we want to hear from you! See below flyer for more...
As the nights draw in, we get closer to Christmas and the temperatures begin to drop - ensure your clothes cover warmth and style.
0810 Bella Jersey Scarf
0506 Molly Waterfall Cardi
RRP: £49.95 / £41.63 excl VAT if you are entitled to VAT exemption
You can always buy and try. If it is not right for you, return on us for free!
See the Bella Jersey Scarf, Molly Jersey Cardi and more on The Able Label website
Ways to Shop:
-mail order - through The Able Label catalogue
-phone - calling 01622 828994
-webstite - visit www.theablelabel.com
Many people we speak to are curious to know the process we’re using to take The Able Label from design to dressing at home. Our Founder Katie gives us a behind the scenes peek at how the product is lovingly made and brought to you.
The real secret to The Able Label’s innovative designs – you! Everything starts from you, the customer. Numerous focus groups are created and carried out to really understand what is needed and desired from the range. Until this is clear, we cannot move forward. This is why before The Able Label launches, a whole year has already been dedicated to understanding exactly what people need and want from an adaptive clothing range before any design work commenced.
12 months prior to anything hitting the rails, we begin the season. From attending fashion shows and watching catwalks, to reading industry articles and going on shopping trips, we note key trends in colour, pattern, silhouette and fabric.
From key trends, a story is created for the season by our wonderful design team. They create moodboards and colour palettes to convey the story, which is used as inspiration to begin initial sketches. They will also consider the feedback provided to ensure key needs are met on each garment. This is how we are able to create fashionable yet functional clothing. The customer and attention to detail are at the heart of everything they do.
“Attention to detail is at the heart of everything they do.”
There will be several sketches completed before we select the best to take forward and sample. At this stage, our garment technician will work closely with the design team to create size specs which detail all key measurements. The sketches and size specs are all put into a technical specification ready to brief to our manufacturers in Portugal.
Sampling and Trials
Our manufacturer will create samples based on the technical specifications. Before we go into production, it is crucial to test the range through further focus groups and wearer trials as we want to be certain that nothing has been lost in translation from our initial feedback. With this feedback in mind, we carry out fit sessions on our fit model to make amendments. Another sample will then be made following these amendments until we are completely satisfied we have the perfect piece.
Testing and Production
Once happy with the samples, we then test them to ensure they pass key requirements to industry standard including colour fastness, spirality and pilling. Once we’re confident that all testing is approved, we can then give the go ahead for production commence.
“Once happy with the samples, we then test them to ensure they pass key requirements to industry standard.”
Shipment and Shop
Our quality controller will visit the factory to ensure the highest standards of quality are maintained before any order is shipped to our distribution centre. This is when The Able Label’s range is in-stock ready for you!
So, there you have it. The process from research to rail!
Here’s some feedback from two individuals involved in wearer trials - Michelle, an Occupational Therapist and Su, who had a stroke twenty-four years ago which resulted in a fixed flexion leaving use in only one arm:
“Clothing is stylish, comfortable, high quality, good value for money and enables independence”
- Michelle, London
“I love the clothes as they are pretty yet practical”
- Su, London
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.