Adelaide-based founder and concept designer Charlie-Helen Robinson brought Age Fit Wear to life almost three years ago with her 83-year-old mother and other elderly and mobility impaired people in mind.
“My concepts started forming while mum was in hospital and then once she finally settled into a residential aged care facility,” Ms Robinson says.
“As her family carer it was my job to buy her clothes, motivate her rehabilitation and essentially keep her spirits up after her fall which broke her back.
“The whole journey was quite stressful as you can imagine so I started looking at areas that I could improve and make her feel good about herself again.”
The mantra of Age Fit Wear is to ensure people have a ‘right to fit in, look stylish and gorgeous while maintaining an upbeat attitude towards ageing and life’ and, with the help of public support, the concept aims to introduce stylish designs which are easy to manage during dressing that “don’t scream” mobility impaired.
“The aim is for people who, like my mum, don’t necessarily have a formal mobility impairment but who have trouble dressing themselves and end up wearing floppy, ill-fitting clothes because it’s considered ‘easy to get on’,” Ms Robinson explains.
“The range will also be useful for the on/off need when going exercising – so many times in nursing homes and the like I see ladies and gentlemen wearing their day clothes to the gym; our range of clothing will give them the option to change quickly, or quicker, if and when they need without reliance on a carer to assist them.”
Now, after launching the crowd funding initiative to get the initial concept off the ground, Ms Robinson has already more than doubled the first target of $500 with a total of $1085 pledged by 13 supporters.
“The crowd funding concept was an experiment – a trial to see what support is out there – it was a great lesson for me as to how to start a campaign of my own,” she says.
“I’d heard of many successes and failures on the various platforms used and I went into the process knowing my concept would be developed with or without.
“I can happily say I have doubled my target goal within the first 48 hours and the campaign is still live.
“The best part about the campaign is the conversation it generated around what I was doing and how many people are excited about the outcomes.
“It has reaffirmed my own belief and research that this is a sorely needed area – a definite gap in the market.”
The first items are currently being developed into patterns with samples then to be created by partner Marino Uniforms and include an undergarment that is both a singlet and on/off bra in one, a wrap top and pants.
“Each item is designed for style while remaining easy to put on and wear,” Ms Robinson says.
“They have unique features that are very much needed by elderly hands and less mobile bodies.
“With my mum with her arthritis and chronic health issues as my main inspiration, I have also worked in the aged care industry and been privy to other opinions, situations and challenges – I feel I have a good grasp of what’s out there and the reality of the situation and broad spectrum of needs.”
While not creating a replacement for occupational therapy designs for the wheelchair bound, Ms Robinson says the Age Fit Wear range will be available to anyone, not just the elderly as she hopes to ‘make the range appealing to everyone’.
Trial samples of the clothing range will be out by September with the launch and hosted ‘Launch Fashion Parades’ being scheduled for October.