Based in a small office space in Leith in Edinburgh, Claudia Romero and her small but dedicated team are leading the charge in a revolution.

 

A mother of three boys, Claudia had long been frustrated by how few options there were when it came to clothing her youngest son who is severely disabled. Christian’s disability is such that he cannot dress himself, and his needs mean he often has to wear clothes that are too large for him, or that can expand, like sweat pants or hoodies. Speaking as a mother Claudia said “I have two older sons. Why is it that they get to wear nice clothes and look good but my youngest son has to wear clothes that don’t fit properly? I don’t like that”. And she raises a good point. Practicality is important, of course, but why should it be at the expense of style and fashion?

 

It doesn’t have to be like that

In response to this, Claudia set out to create an entire range of clothes for disabled children and adolescents that combine the practical aspects that make daily life easier, but that also look smart and fashionable. This culminated in her creating Capr-Style, a company that manufactures and sells these clothes. In appearance they are essentially normal, smart, and fashionable clothes. But if you inspect them more closely you can find a range of discreet little alterations designed facilitate things like; getting dressed and undressed and tube feeding amongst other things. Every item of clothing produced is submitted to a rigorous quality control test to guarantee its high standard.

A few examples of Capr-Style’s wardrobe include;

  • T-shirts that have buttons to unfasten the arms, making it easier to put them on. Claudia points out that in some cases, a child with a disability may have poor flexibility in their arms and so getting them into the sleeves can be difficult. You could even potentially damage nerves or muscles in the arms if you try and do it too fast. For children who need to be fed via a tube, Claudia has included some little gaps in the fabric that are otherwise hidden by a range of beautifully patterned flaps.

 

  • Trousers that unfasten around the legs so that a disabled child doesn’t have to be manoeuvred into them. This can take a long time and cause distress both to the child being dressed and their carer. Instead, Capr-style’s trousers can easily be enveloped around the child and fastened in about a minute. Many of the trousers designed are measured to account for nappies or pads, and some are also reinforced at the knees to allow for disabled children who like to move around on all fours.

 

Real Benefits

The last few months have seen Claudia and her team carry out extensive research with parents and carers, but first and foremost it has been her own experience as a mother that has guided her. Whilst speaking to other parents and carers of children with disabilities, Claudia found that many of the problems and frustrations they experienced regarding clothing were very similar to her own, and she is keen to highlight the huge benefits that Capr-Style can offer, namely:

  • Aesthetically – Finally! Some genuinely nice and fashionable clothes that are also designed for convenience. After all, what parent doesn’t want their child to look good?

 

  • Time-saving – With regular clothing, some parents or carers can take up to half an hour to dress a severely disabled child. With Capr-style’s convenient alterations it only takes a small fraction of that time. This could be particularly useful in Special needs schools where carers might have to change the clothes of dozens of children every day. Time saved changing clothes is time that can be spent on other activities.

 

  • More dignified  – Being obliged to wear plain and ill-fitting clothes can hurt a person’s self-esteem, and being awkwardly forced into clothes can be a distressing experience for all concerned, especially if done in a hurry.

 

  • Safety – As has been pointed out already, mobility and flexibility problems can increase the risk of injury when dressing someone. The easy-on/easy-off design of Capr-Style helps reduce the risk of injury all around.

 

Getting the word out

The business side of things is now effectively in place and customers can now go to the Capr-Style website and order the clothes directly. Claudia was assisted along the way by Entrepreneurial Spark and even won £5000 through them to boost her endeavour. Now the word is slowly getting out through the media (Capr-Style has already been featured in The Scotsman and on BBC Radio Scotland) but also through word of mouth. They are hoping to eventually take their brand further and are looking at the rest of Europe and America. From there, who knows…?

 

Why only now?

The absence of suitable clothing for children with disabilities is obviously a problem that has exasperated parents and carers for a very long time, and so I have to ask – why has no-one ever done something about it before now? Claudia is equally baffled, saying:

 

“That’s one question I don’t have an answer to. Maybe it’s a case that there wasn’t enough of a market for the retailers to take an interest. There are approximately 750,000 disabled children in the U.K. but according to retailers that’s not that big a market”.

 

Well, no longer. Capr-Style is at the forefront of the industry and here-on-with the plan is “full steam ahead”. Ross Lindsay who is responsible for Capr-Style’s marketing had this to say - “Children shouldn’t have to look different because of a disability. These clothes look good, they’re fashionable, and ultimately we plan to produce a whole wardrobe”.

Click here to visit Capr-Style's website.

Views: 390

Reply to This

© 2022   Created by Gordon White.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service