This stylist is moving fashion forward in the most body-positive way
Fashion should be for everyone: skinny, curvy, short, tall, whatever body type or economic bracket you fall into shouldn’t exclude you from looking good. Designer Stephanie Thomas, 46, believes that whole-heartedly, and she’s identified a part of the population that’s currently being desperately underserved by fashion companies: People who are differently abled.
“There’s only one store in America that sells clothes specifically for disabled people, but they are the biggest minority in the country,” she explained to People.
Stephanie has a serious point: for people with disabilities, it can be incredibly difficult to find clothing that caters to their needs. Thomas, who herself suffers from congenital disabilities on her right hand and feet, she has noticed this hole in the fashion world, and she’s hoping to help fix it.
That’s why she has dedicated 20 years of her life to filling that gap in the industry. She created a “disability styling system” (DSS) in 2004 that classifies clothing in terms of accessibility (“easy to take on and off”), medical functionality (“does not harm the wearer”), and stylishness (“preferred by the wearer, that compliment’s the [wearer’s] body type”), according to her site.
She then launched cur8able, a fabulous website that showcases different brands that align with Stephanie’s DSS. ” . . . my goal is to create beautiful, powerful images that challenge and ultimately change negative perceptions of people with disabilities,” writes Stephanie on the cur8able website. “[I] do this by curating clothing and other adaptive technology that allows people with disabilities to dress with independence and dignity.”
The site also features as a lookbook portraying women and men with disabilities modeling the clothing brands featured (for example, American Horror Story star and fabulous model Jamie Brewer, pictured above!).
“Pets have more clothing options than people with disabilities; this is a problem my fashion inclusivity theory can help alleviate,” writes Stephanie on her site. Her fashion inclusivity theory, she explains, means acknowledging, listening, and serving people with disabilities to best help them with what they need.
The DSS and cur8able aren’t the only contributions Stephanie has made to the disability-friendly fashion world. In 2007, she wore pajamas for a full year to spread awareness about the issue, which she called the “peejay campaign.” During this year, still clothed in pajamas, she gave lectures and speeches, passed out flyers, and discussed the issue on her radio show.
Check out the lookbook to see more absolutely fabulous looks. We totally love the amazing things Stephanie is doing in the fashion world to make super cute, stylish clothes available for everyone.