Kitty was born in January 2012, and like all babies, was absolutely perfect. She was a very happy, placid, smiley baby, but by six months old was starting to fall behind in reaching her milestones. Just after her first birthday she was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome (AS).
Because AS causes developmental delays, Kitty spent the first three years of her life crawling around on the floor, and as she did she wore holes in the knees off all of her trousers. Like all proud parents I had bought her some beautiful clothes only to see them ruined within weeks, so I started to ask parents why no one made durable trousers. They replied: and while they’re at it, why not trousers that fit kids in wheelchairs who are sitting down all day, or that are easier to pull up! And so, the idea of Kitted was born.
I knew that I didn’t just want the clothes to be practical, they had to look good too. One of the challenges facing parents of children with disabilities is coming to terms with the normal parenting experiences that you will never have. Kitty doesn’t speak, so I’ve never been able to enjoy hearing her first word. I didn’t want to miss out on buying pretty clothes for my gorgeous daughter too.
Over the next few years in my spare time I tinkered with a business plan for Kitted Clothing, but it was still a pipe dream… until last year I was made redundant. At a loss as to what to do next, I pulled the business plan from a drawer, brushed it down and set to work.
From preliminary chats with designers it was clear that they couldn’t quite figure out what I was trying to describe, so I went online and bought a couple of books on drafting patterns, pulled an old sewing machine out of the loft and set to work making samples. I’ll blog about those soon.
And the next step? My intention is to crowdfund £100,000 this summer for the first Kitted collection to be drafted by professional designers and made up. Can it be done? Only time will tell…