Fashion and practicality do not always go hand-in-hand. While the high street now accommodates for curvy, tall and petite shapes, some argue that retailers still do not cater for everyone.
Women that require multiple injections throughout the day, such as type 1 diabetics, are a good example of a group of people who feel their requirements are overlooked by the industry.
Not being able to avoid injecting insulin while away from home, diabetics say they often have to resort to wearing looser clothes instead of more ‘fashionable’ high-waisted jeans and skirts, in order to avoid having to go to public toilets multiple times.
A handful of designers have tried to help fill this gap in the market inspired by their own personal experiences, and have started creating fashion designed with this problem in mind – stylish clothes that allow you to regularly administer injections with ease.
One UK-based fashion designer, Natalie Balmain, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 20, gained BBC coverage this month as she launched her new clothing range for diabetic women, called Type 1 Clothing.
Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, but it most commonly appears before the age of 40, particularly during childhood. There are an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK living with diabetes according to statistics from Public Health England, meaning this problem is faced by many. But for the younger generations involved it can be a massive burden on their confidence.
Her collection aims to boost the confidence of women who have the condition. The range includes stylish jumpsuits, pencil skirts, dresses and jeans, each with carefully placed zips for easy access to the skin. The clothes also include pockets to conceal insulin pumps.
However, Type 1 Clothing is not the only start-up to have come up with new ways to make living with type 1 diabetes easier. US based start-up, Pocket Innerwear, developed a range of garments called the Pump Pocket that allow wearers to conceal their essential, bulky insulin pumps within their clothing.
Kyrra Richards, who is the founder of another US start-up called Myabetic, said she hated carrying around her essential diabetes pack when she was first diagnosed due to its medicinal appearance. This inspired her to ‘start a diabetes makeover’ by creating a collection of fashionable supply cases for use by all ages.
For companies specialising in healthcare communications, it is important that they support businesses from other industries, including fashion, whose ideas dovetail with healthcare. This will encourage more innovations and will help to improve all aspects of life for people living with lifelong health conditions.