Disabled stars reveal how they overcame their darkest hours in campaign for inclusive fashion label, Kintsugi Clothing
“What got me through day to day was finding my people. Finding people who were ‘broken’ and connecting with them.” Comedian and playwright Jackie Hagan
FASHION brand Kintsugi today launches a new series of arresting videos in which the disabled community’s most iconic individuals reveal their life moments when they felt most broken.
The inclusive clothing company asked its high-profile customers to open up about when they felt most defeated by society – and how they rallied, adapted and overcame to succeed in life.
In the first of an ongoing interview project titled #Unbroken, comedian, playwright and amputee Jackie Hagan tells Kintsugi of the mental and physical difficulties she has suffered since her teens.
She explained to Kintsugi CEO Emma McClelland how “finding people who were broken and connecting with them” eased her troubles until she found her own way to function in society.
The award-winning writer, who lost her right leg after suffering from blood clots and life-threatening infections, revealed: “The moment in my life when I was at my absolute lowest, when I was most broken, was when I was a teenager going nuts. “My dad had just died. I went to a posh university to do philosophy not knowing that I was working class. It had just never come up in my life. I was 19 and full of rage, impotence and vulnerability. So, I really lost it. It was horrible.”
The performer from Skelmersdale, said: “When I was in a psychiatric ward, I started reading poetry, then going to workshops and performing at open mikes. I just kept performing until someone offered me a commission to do a solo show. I got into the career that I’m in now by going nuts.
“I think what got me through day to day was, bit by bit, finding my people. Finding people who were broken and connecting with them. Life is about all the nice bits of people being themselves. I love people with ticks or stutters. People being themselves is brilliant. That’s when you can really connect and engage.
“The idea of perfection is really dangerous. It means people’s needs get pushed so far down because they’re trying to be this default wonderful human. The opposite of perfection in people, is people being honest, which is truth and beauty.”
Reflecting on her proudest moment, she recalled: “When I had my leg off, I really made a thing of it. You’re supposed to be like, ‘Oh God, everyone is going to judge me on this because it is so ugly,’ and it is ugly. It has got what looks like a mouth on it. So, I drew two eyes on it and henceforth came stump puppetry.”
Jackie, who now lives among Manchester’s student population in Fallowfield became an ambassador for Kintsugi after the adaptive apparel label asked her to kick off its disability-conscious video series, in her inimitable style.
Manchester-based Kintsugi will follow Hagan’s interview by releasing similar conversations with other well-known disability activists including five times Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockcroft and medical politician Hannah Barnham-Brown.
Kintsugi’s CEO Emma McClelland said: “We are delighted to be bringing these conversations and issues into the mainstream. These are successful women who have broken the mould and want to talk about disability and inclusivity, and help others confront similar situations to theirs.
“When faced with adversity and a sense of ‘being broken’, they revitalised themselves to achieve greater triumphs that wouldn’t otherwise have happened.
“This is the spirit of the Kintsugi Clothing brand and the Japanese art form from which it takes its name. Kintsugi offers designer clothing, suitable for all women, adapted through small but important details. At that point beautiful clothes become accessible to disabled women and enhance the lives they lead.”
Kintsugi is an inclusive clothing brand that makes designer apparel accessible to disabled women through universal design features. While bought by able-bodied women too, discreet facets including magnetic fasteners, zip pulls, sleeve pulls and relocated pockets add the small design details needed for all women to enjoy Kintsugi’s fashion ranges. Founded in 2017, by Emma McClelland, the disability-conscious clothing company is supported by many high profile figures in the disabled community.
Kintsugi’s #Unbroken Campaign
Kintsugi’s #Unbroken campaign aims to bring disabled and able-bodied women the encouragement and belief they need to find greater success and beauty, after adverse life moments leave them feeling broken. It is hoped by hearing other women’s triumphs over tragedy, that they will feel inspired to create newer, improved versions of themselves.
Jackie Hagan is an award-winning performer and writer. She has toured globally to sell-out audiences in Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. She has been nominated for a National Diversity Award, a Woman of the World Award for effecting lasting social change. She has written for Diva magazine, Attitude magazine, the Big Issue, Topshop and contributes regularly to diversity debates on BBC Radio Four. She is a lecturer at Manchester Met University and an accessibility consultant.