In 2014, designer Kelly Sue was the winner of “fashion on wheels”, a fashion design competition meant to raise awareness for the fact that there is limited choice in comfortable and fashionable clothing for wheelchair users. This triumph inspired Kelly Sue to create her own label “SUE” for which she would continue to design seated fashion, emphasizing and contributing to diversity. After showcasing her first collection at MBFWA 2016, Sue is back with a fresh new collection consisting of very wearable and fashionable looks for wheelchair users.
A violinist confined to a wheelchair appears, still managing to stand up she starts to play some beautiful, melancholy melodies. Recorded on the spot, she then moves to the side of the stage and uses these melodies to sample and mix with her portable mixing console, providing the music for the rest of the show. The first models roll onto the catwalk, but later we see Kelly Sue has also appointed some walking models, highlighting her goal to bring forth a more realistic social picture within the fashion industry besides the development of adapted fashion.
People come in so many shapes, ages, colors and sizes, but where are they? They are not represented in the magazines, TV or fashion industry, but SUE is going to change this!Kelly Sue
Kelly Sue’s aesthetic is very contemporary and rebellious, derived from very current trends such as rock ‘n roll denim jeans and jackets with colorful patches, as well as graphic sweaters and t-shirts. Her collection seems subtly influenced by rockabilly styles featuring leather biker jackets and faux leopard coats, as well as tapping into a more sophisticated approach with a French ‘joie de vivre’ feel featuring striped tops and black capris worn with red socks. The collection is beautifully accessorized with retro aviator glasses, sailor caps, barrettes and red scarves, cleverly pulling it all together.
Instead of focusing on the limitations of wheelchair users, Kelly Sue bases her collection upon style and alters the garments later to adapt to standing and seated individuals. According to her, style should always come first! This way the same fashionable designs are available to every woman, with or without a disability. For wheelchair users this means some adjustments are made such as extra space around the elbows, and a higher waist line in the back of the trousers.
Her oversized sweaters and T-shirts boast cool prints such as stars and red lips, but also more emotive slogans such as “Diversity is the key to unity” and “Broken crayons still color”. Wearing a sweater bearing the latter slogan, a model with a prosthetic leg makes her way down the catwalk, and already moved by the impelling music the message sent by this sight almost caused us to shed a tear.
The proceeds will go to ‘the SUE foundation’ which strives for more participation and inclusion and will show the world, with SUE’s warriors, that we are all equal and of value.