Thursday, 28 April 2016


Parkinson's Awareness Week 2016

This Parkinson’s Awareness Week, the Parkinson's community joined together to share the message: “Whoever you are and whatever you're going through, no one has to face Parkinson's alone”.

As Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2016 draws to a close, we remember how The Able Label was initially started with a very close link to Parkinson’s.

Founder Katie’s grandmother had Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s Dementia. As the degenerative disease progressed, she found daily living became more challenging. For most aspects of life, she was able to gain the right support to help her lead as normal a life as possible. This was not the case with clothing though.

Katie’s grandmother hated her grandfather helping her to dress. She wanted to maintain as much independence as possible and explained to Katie that when she received help dressing, she lost that as well as her dignity and this really upset her. She also loved clothes and took real pride in the way she dressed so sacrificing the way she looked was not an option.

Katie therefore spent time with her grandmother researching alternative solutions to make the dressing process easier whilst maintaining style. There was nothing available, which satisfied both the function and fashion she needed. Katie was a buyer for popular retailer White Stuff so set to work thinking of solutions to help her grandmother and the many other women in the same situation as her (not only with Parkinson’s but with anything that could make dressing a challenge from a frozen shoulder to having had a stroke) who did not want to and should not have to sacrifice fashion for function or function for fashion.

Katie's grandmother - inspiration for The Able Label
Katie's grandmother - inspiration for The Able Label clothing

With Katie’s grandmother in mind, clothes within The Able Label's range all consider three key elements in addition to looking stylish:

  • Reduced movement - fabrics used are all jersey, which has extra stretch making them easier to get on and more comfortable to wear. No styles dress overhead.
  • Sensitive skin – fabrics all have a super soft finish, which feels great against skin. Seams are considerately placed and minimised to reduce discomfort
  • Reduced fine motor skills and lack of strength – this meant fastenings become impossible so all clothes have touch closures like Velcro which are easier to manipulate. Read more on our Velcro used here.
  • Fatigue – with no styles dressing overhead, fatigue is reduced
  • Poor balance – wrap styles mean that the amount of balance required to dress is minimised. In particular, wrap skirts allow dressing without even taking a foot off the ground. This makes dressing safer and reduces risk of falls.

  • All styles have colour co-ordinated internals to act as triggers in aiding dressing for those who have cognitive difficulties. Lime is for left and red is for right and encourages the wearers to dress themselves the right way round and not back to front.

  • Katie’s grandmother eventually needed full time care and had assisted dressing. Wrap designs made it easier for carers to dress her whilst she maintained her style.

Katie’s grandmother would often say to her, “if you can help just one other person in my situation, do all you can to help” - this still today inspires the team to create beautiful clothes all designed to make dressing easier.

So with the same joined up thinking as Parkinson’s Awareness Week, if you know anyone who could benefit from The Able Label’s easier dressing clothing, let them know there is now an option out there which could help them maintain independence, dignity and inspire confidence.

The Able Label can be found:

The range is also stocked by Parkinson's UK and can be found by clicking on this Parkinson's UK adaptive clothing link.

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