It is no secret to those of us who use a wheelchair – clothing doesn’t always fit in different ways. Regardless of it being around the abdomen or trousers riding high, skirts being slightly too short or shirts rubbing on wheels – there’s always something. Chloe Ball-Hopkins and ASOS have done something about this though, so we wanted to learn more
Weather inspired festival-wear
Chloe first realised she needed something that could meet her needs when she was at a festival in 2017. Being a festival in the UK, it did what normally happens in the UK and fairly quickly Chloe was soaking from the rain.
“My boyfriend was running back and forth to the car in order to find more than my rain jacket to keep me dry,” Chloe recalls. “Eventually I was wrapped in a dog blanket to save me from going home with damp memories and a cold.”
After the festival, Chloe began reaching out to clothing companies and ASOS responded to her, inviting her to meet with them.
Body confident partnership
One size doesn’t always fit all – Chloe knows very well about this, with several medical conditions of her own to manage alongside her own active life. She described the day that she visited ASOS as “surreal”, wheeling into a large room to be presented with a prototype idea of what might be needed to provide some practical and stylish festival wear.
“Basically, they said to be honest and brutal. They wanted to know what did or did not work. It wasn’t lip service, they were very serious about a product that was suitable for all their customers.”
ASOS have a clear policy on body confidence with it available for anyone to see on their website. Regardless of body type, they told us that customer lead design is central to the final product reaching the shelves.
The finished product
The design incorporates many different features, including waterproof zips around the waist (turning it into an all in one or jacket/trouser combination), elasticated leg cuffs, a waterproof phone pocket (or medication, medic alert…) and a baggy top to enable a bit of breathing room around the stomach.
The space in the stomach area is a really good piece of inclusive design, as Chloe pointed out. “It means that someone with a stoma bag or just a sensitive abdomen can wear an attractive bit of clothing without worrying about a bag showing or feeling larger than they are.”
The end result is an all-in-one that doesn’t have to be an all in one that is comfortable to wear, keeps you dry though the British summer and be compatible with your choice in footwear and wheels.
The response to ASOS Launch
In the first 24 hours, Chloe found herself being in a spotlight, including on Twitter UK Moments, the London Evening Standard and fashion magazines across the board.
“It’s surreal and gratifying. This is something amazing that I’m really proud to have been a part of and I’m pleased ASOS chose to be the ones to do this.”
With positive comments coming in from around the globe, there is always the question what next. ASOS have said they want to explore what customers need from their clothing and will look at the response to the all in one to ensure that they can learn from this.
“We really enjoyed working with Chloe on this project; she has so much energy and enthusiasm.”
Chloe is really clear: “ASOS have a few ideas and so do I.” We think that’s very mysterious and can’t wait to see what’s next.
You can find the ASOS tie dye all in one on the ASOS website for £50 (Price correct at time of printing). Meanwhile, have you got a message for Chloe or ASOS? Do you have something to say? Leave it in the comments below – click here to log in.
Images supplied by ASOS. For reproduction please contact us.