For most, getting dressed every day is a given and doesn't require much effort at all.
For people with disabilities, however, it is a very different experience that can even be compared to a “fight”.
Will & Well's founder, Elisa Lim, was in her early twenties when she realized the need to make clothes for the disabled that were easier to wear.
The 26-year-old told Vulcan Post that she has always been passionate about fashion design and that she earned both a diploma and a degree in fashion.
During the final year of her graduation in 2015, a doctor approached her to design clothes for his bedridden patients.
She accepted the project and began speaking to many different patients before realizing that there was a great need for inclusive clothing.
During the next two years she researched this topic and learned about the fashion needs of various disabled people.
"I talked to patients, went to hospitals, retirement homes and social services – to talk to people who were in wheelchairs, had cerebral palsy and more," she said.
In 2017, she graduated with a degree in fashion design and founded Will & Well, which was inspired by her project last year that included a clothing line for wheelchair users.
Fashion and technology marry
Photo credit: Will & Well via Facebook
Will & Well is an inclusive fashion label founded to improve lives by changing the way people wear clothes.
According to the brand, "many elements of modern clothing such as buttons and zippers have not been updated in centuries, and this inconvenience is only compounded for people with disabilities."
Elisa and her team therefore use design thinking and technology to create new ways of wearing clothes by combining fashion and function.
One of the technologies behind Will & Wells clothing is Magsnap – neodymium magnetic buttons that snap into place with simple movements and eliminate the need for conventional buttons.
Slim Fit Short Sleeve Shirt – MagSnap / Image Credit: Will & Well
Another reason are the parallel, full-length zippers with front slot, with which the trousers can be opened completely. It is specifically designed to help caregivers prevent throwing and twisting or pulling to put on pants.
"Fashion is first about aesthetics, you want to wear something because it looks good," said Elisa.
This became clear to her during her two years of research and human interaction, which led her to create these functional, yet fashionable pieces.
It is evident that a great deal of research is put into place before creating the final pieces.
“We really spend time understanding the donning challenges and we do that before we start designing,” Elisa said.
Will & Well also offers bespoke clothing for customers. The process includes a consultation to understand the customer's needs, a draft proposal, approval of the design and then the equipment.
Most recently, the team created a “gown that lights up” for Amelia, a 14-year-old whose health was not fully understood by her doctors.
The dress has been heavily adapted to Amelia's needs. For example, Amelia consumes through a feeding tube by her side and her parents have to lift her shirt to eat.
Elisa and her team have built an additional opening on the side with a water-repellent fabric to make Amelia's meal times more pleasant.
An easier, better tomorrow
Photo credit: Will and Well via Facebook
Elisa considered that at the beginning she never intended to start a business.
However, she had already completed her research and "planted a seed of hope" for her research participants. She felt that the next natural step was to make these garments available to her.
The name "Will & Well" was chosen on a whim and Elisa laughed when she mentioned that a friend in the bathroom had thought about it.
Even so, she had a very "natural understanding" of what Will & Well should mean to their customers.
If they (customers) have the will to live a good life, we will be here to make it good for them. This is essentially what our products and services do for people.
Elisa Lim, founder of Will & Well, in an interview with Vulcan Post
Will & Well was founded three years ago and the most fulfilling aspect of doing business for Elisa is meeting the needs of her clients and clients.
Since then, the brand has also specialized in running workshops – Sew Simple – where customers learn how to re-style and redesign existing clothing to improve functionality.
Photo credit: Will & Well via Facebook
They also just launched their second online collection which offers more variations in size and style.
Elisa believes that fashion is a medium for social innovation and she has been fortunate to continue to develop solutions for her customers.
"It may not be 100%, but we are getting closer to an easier, better tomorrow," she said.
Selected image source: Will & Well via Facebook