The Helpful Clothing Company
is based in Scotland and was founded in 2017 by 2 cousins, Yvonne and Sharyn – our mothers are sisters.
Sharyn’s mum has dementia, and dressing has become increasingly challenging as the disease has progressed. Being a bit handy with a sewing machine, Sharyn started adapting her Mum’s own clothes by making skirts into wrap over styles, adding longer zips, etc. This really helped take some of the practical problems (and stress!) out of the dressing/undressing routine.
Eventually, we thought that there must be someone already selling ready-adapted clothing for people with conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s’ disease, or just plain old arthritis! However, an internet search showed very little to be available – and much of it was really old-fashioned.
Our ‘Eureka! Moment’
So, we had our ‘Eureka! Moment’. We decided that, if we needed adapted clothing, there must be lots of other people who had similar needs, and we would try to set up our own company, producing ordinary fashionable clothing which is adapted to make it easy to put on and take off. Our aim was to incorporate ‘helpful’ features which would benefit both the wearer of the clothes and any carer proving assistance with dressing.
We have lots of practical ideas, drawn from our own experience and input from other carers and health professionals. Yvonne also broke her leg during the course of our start-up and had some unsolicited, but very useful, front-line experience of the need for adapted clothing.
It has been a challenging year, with a steep learning curve, refining designs, finding suppliers and looking for manufacturers, but our first collection is now in place and we have worked with a local manufacturer in Scotland to produce our designs.