Ellen Fowles is an adaptivewear designer based in London. She practices inclusive design through ethnographic research methods and cross-generational workshops. Ellen has been involved in research projects with Microsoft, the European Space Agency and the Helen Hamlyn Centre. She has co-designed and consulted with stroke rehabilitation patients, NHS staff, Alzheimer’s sufferers, Paralympians, and those living with Autism and other cognitive disabilities.
To offer flexibility for adaptivewear consumers, Ellen works to provide options through functional and economic accessibility. Her aim is to offer a dignified, more tailored aesthetic than the pyjama or ill-fitting sportswear that many are left with, and create garments that both disabled and able-bodied people can enjoy.
This work is a capsule collection designed with and for my grandmother, Marian Fowles. Her wardrobe must accommodate her life at home, in hospital and as a clinical outpatient. My intention is to provide her with garments that grant her the freedom to live according to her desires, rather than against the constraints of her clothing.
Whether in a healthcare facility, or for rehabilitation at home, it is fundamental that the clothing of both patients and medical staff is seen as a crucial part of the care environment. There is an excess of 'product' in the world. This is an enhanced problem in the fashion industry, yet the needs of our ageing population and disabled people are broadly ignored. Involving the wearer and those they frequently interact with, such as carers and physiotherapists, enables designers to cater for a more diverse market, and therefore approximate various lived experiences to practice inclusive design. Design can create disability, it is our responsibility to change that.