Edinburgh student cuts cloth with cerebral palsy friendly fashion range

Heriot-Watt fashion student has taken inspiration from the 1970s to create cutting-edge clothing for people with Cerebral Palsy.   Pic credit: Stuart Liam McConville
Heriot-Watt fashion student has taken inspiration from the 1970s to create cutting-edge clothing for people with Cerebral Palsy. Pic credit: Stuart Liam McConville

MANY people associate ‘cutting-edge’ clothing with trendy downtown stores and catwalk shows.

But one student from Edinburgh has used her fashion skills for a more generous cause, designing on-trend adaptations for people with Cerebral palsy.

Laura Reid, who studies Fashion at Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textile and Design, worked with a focus group of young adults with the disability to design her innovative collection.

She took her inspiration from a 1970s book which reveals clothing for people with disabilities has traditionally been designed for the very young or elderly.

Laura said: “Currently, the options for young adults are limited, with many brands not focusing on the younger adult market and not being financially viable due to the niche market.

“I’m very proud of the collection and highlighting an important issue within the fashion industry.

“I wanted to design a collection which was suitable for my age group – for both the mainstream market and people with Cerebral palsy.”

The clothes feature adaptations such as removable sleeves, elasticised waists and magnetic snaps, designed to show clothing quality does not need to be diminished due to a disability.

The final collection is due to feature in a degree show exhibition at the university campus in Galashiels, to be held on Friday and Saturday.

Laura said: “Aesthetically, the collection has followed a colour scheme of dark blues and forest greens, preventing the collection from appearing childish, with pops of orange as well as gold and rose gold foil to add an element of fun and remind the wearers they are still young.

“Garments can be interchanged to suit the style of the wearer and create looks to suit different occasions.”

Laura first got in touch with her focus group after speaking to Bobath Scotland, a charity which supports people living with Cerebral Palsy.

In Scotland, around 150 children a year are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.

It is a permanent condition that affects a person’s movement, posture and motor control.

Stephanie Fraser, CEO of Bobath Scotland, said they were pleased to help. She said: “At Bobath Scotland, we support people with Cerebral Palsy in a range of ways, including providing specialist therapy for children and adults across the country.

“We regularly work with people living with Cerebral Palsy to develop life skills that increase independence.

“Dressing as independently as possible is a big part of that.

“In December we were very happy to bring Laura together with a group of young adults with Cerebral Palsy to discuss some of the ways that clothing could be made more accessible and enable independent dressing, but still be fashion-forward.

“We wish Laura all the best with her fabulous collection, and hope that it highlights to the industry that accessible can also be fashionable.”