If you've been to our site before, you'll know we have a capsule collection of wardrobe must-haves. Each is named after a celebrated and/or hard-working woman.
We'd like to start with our Olympia Strike jeans.
We all know how difficult it is to find the perfect pair of jeans. For disabled women, that challenge can be extra tricky. Pockets at the hip that you can't fit anything into. Low waistbands that slip down (no woman wants a builder's bum). Itchy labels on your back. These are just a few of the annoying elements shoppers have to contend with.
Design with a difference
Our Olympia Strike jeans are designed differently.
First of all, they have a slightly higher back. We like to think of it as a 'no crack back'. Secondly, we've not gone for the typical 'zip and button at the front' combo. Instead, we've placed two rose gold zips on either side seam, running part way down the leg.
The zips have ring pulls to assist fashionistas with dexterity challenges and allow you to create much more room to get your legs into the jeans before zipping up. This is also a feature we know can benefit those who self-catheterise.
The Olympia Strike jeans have a high waist, because a friend with an ostomy bag described to Emma her preference for clothing that flattens the appearance of her bag and provides support.
We love pockets
As you know, most of our items have pockets because there's not enough clothing with nice big pockets for women. These jeans are no different, except for the fact that they are located lower down the leg. If you're in a seated position, they are designed to be more convenient to access, and items placed in them, usually settle naturally behind the calf.
As with all of our garments, anybody can wear them. They look like any other pair of stylish jeans you'd find on the high street and we love them. We hope you do too.
Anne Wafula Strike. Athlete, author and campaigner.
As many people know, Anne is a British Paralympic wheelchair racer who has represented both Kenya and great Britain. But there is so much more to this incredible woman. She is a talented story-teller and her book 'In My Dreams I Dance' is a must-read.
Anne was born in Kenya. Her father, who is an avid reader, explained to her and her siblings that in ancient Greece, the strong sportspeople gathered at Mount Olympus. He gave her the middle name Olympia, telling her: "Olympia is a good name for you. You are going to be a very strong and special girl." He was not wrong.
On overcoming adversity
At two-and-a-half years old, Anne contracted polio. Many of the people in her family's village believed she had been cursed and some of them threatened to burn the family home to the ground. It was the start of the adversity that Anne would go on to overcome and it is perhaps no surprise that now, as a successful athlete and author, she is helping others through the Olympia Wafula Foundation.
The foundation delivers wheelchairs to people in Nepal, Kenya, Malawi and Swaziland; it increases disability awareness through advocacy programmes and aims to increase the number of education scholarships for the most neglected groups of people.
On fashion and disability
Anne is also a Christian and a mother to son Tim. She has an MBE for her services to disability sport and charity work, and she is passionate about changing people's perception of disability.
Anne is a great match for Kintsugi because she loves expressing herself through fashion and wants heads to turn for all the right reasons when she enters the room. In an interview with The Huffington Post, she said:
"Many shops fail to cater to the needs of people with disabilities. Jackets get caught on my push rims or mud guards and trousers get caught on my wheels... I love myself and, as a woman, I want to feel sexy. I don’t want to look like I’m a poor girl in a wheelchair wearing a rag or piece of cloth."
We couldn't agree more.
Anne has also been a source of encouragement for Emma, providing much-needed supportive words and advice. We are proud to have named an item in our debut collection after her and hope to work with her on a collection in the future.