The name of Catriona Smith’s graduate collection “HEAVENLY BODIES” was derived from the idea that all bodies are beautiful because not one is the same and there is always beauty in uniqueness. All living things are just bones, muscle and organs and it is the soul that makes the person truly heavenly. The “standard idea of beauty” shouldn’t be based on ability.
Fashion, clothing and style is a global way of showing your personality through your style. The ability to portray your personality through style is something that able bodied people don’t realise we have that many people with disabilities don’t have. This may seem trivial to some but the clothes you wear have the ability to strongly influence your mood and confidence levels and this experience should be accessible to everyone.
Through Smith’s market research and research into the difficulties faced by wheelchair users and what needs to be considered when designing for wheelchair was carried out. This information inspired and aided the design development of the garments in this collection. The aim of the designer was to create a collection that embodied the idea of inclusive fashion that could be worn by woman of every ability, including women with physical disabilities while still exuding elegance, uniqueness and style. This collection in particular encapsulated the idea of inclusive and fully functioning garments for women who are/have: Wheelchair users, Scoliosis, Limited Dexterity and Amputees.
Smith’s collection of evening wear is designed to be worn by women WITHOUT and WITH disabilities. The original inspiration for this investigation into disability inclusive fashion came from Smith’s Dad who as a child had to wear a plaster cast on both legs. “Normal” trousers were not an option. His trousers had to be modified for his needs with zips down both outer side seams. This was 45 years ago, and the availability of disability conscious clothing has barely improved. The HEAVENLY BODIES collection is designed to be completely functional and comfortable for all. She wants people who have a disability to be empowered by the clothes they wear.
Due to the corona virus pandemic and the abrupt closure of Heriot Watt University Catriona was only able to create the first outfit in her collection. She plans on constructing the remaining three outfits in the collection (1. Scoliosis, 2. Limited Dexterity and 3. Amputee) once the facilities become available again.