About Me

Hello! I'm Gemma.

Due to a stroke in the womb at birth I was born with Hemiplegia a type of cerebral palsy. I was very lucky in that the effects physically were quite mild and my disability is fairly hidden. Fashion has always been a sensitive subject for me. I couldn’t wear the same things as my friends when I was younger and my clothing had to accommodate leg splints and casts. Shoes were the absolute worst but I won’t get into that…(we’d be here for years!) I have always been aware of the inequality in fashion for people with disabilities hidden and obvious? The media never really showed people that looked like me or other people I knew with disabilities. This made me want to hide my disability as best I could, I would wear things that were physically uncomfortable or that I couldn’t put on myself all because I wanted to fit in. I felt like an other, that I wasn’t normal and I wasn’t ‘disabled enough’. My degree project is all about equality and inclusivity, making clothing that anyone can wear no matter how funky and crazy, I’ve been so inspired by people that have spoken up and embraced their disability as something that’s made them them but hadn’t myself. This project is personal to me! I want people to be able to wear clothes and think ‘damn I look great’ rather than being sad when the brand hasn’t made the clothes adapted so that they can't dress themselves. My left hand and leg are my issues, I struggle with little buttons, anything back fastening, things that require two hands or good balance to put on. Designers have not been considering these things, things I have always been aware of so with this collection I am starting what will be my lifelong mission of making a difference to the fashion industry and having inclusive or adapted clothing as the normal.

As a designer with a disability it has been hard! All the models we draw are able-bodied, the skills we learn are not taught for people who like me basically do everything with one hand. I’m a knitter! I have learned to knit on machines and by hand whilst only really using one hand. It’s incredibly hard but I love it and have adapted my own ways of doing it. But from all of this and my life’s experiences I have an incredible passion for change and equality. This is personal to me but I know that there are so so so many people that struggle with being made ‘disabled by design’.

I have made an inclusive collection and hope that my work will spread awareness and will encourage brands to consider disability when designing.