Awesome Humans 11 Jun
Meet the Founder: Jessie Sadler, Christina Stephens
It's not often we come across a home-grown brand like Christina Stephens. They are paving the way for Australia in the adaptive space and we at EveryHuman couldn't be more excited to help along the way. Founder; Jessie Sadler, sat down and answered a few questions for EveryHuman about how it all began and what we can expect from Christina Stephens in the future;
What was the inspiration for starting Christina Stephens?
The Christina Stephens concept was seeded after my mum had a fall some years back and damaged her elbows. The injury prevented my very fashion forward and health conscious mother from dressing with ease in her usual classy and understated style. Since then, and unrelated, she has developed arthritis in her shoulders which, even when managed, impacts the ease in which she gets dressed.
After researching the fashion available in the market for style conscious women with short or long-term physical challenges, I realised there was a social and business opportunity in front of me.
Where did the name ‘Christina Stephens’ come from?
People always assume that it’s my name.I wanted to create a label that sounded like a designer label, not one that reminded my clients of functional or clinical clothing. My mum’s name is Christine and my dad’s name is Stephen. The combination of names is just a little something that makes my business even more personal to me.
What is the mission behind your brand?
We want to give women living with disabilities a choice. A choice in fashion. A choice to be included. A choice to be heard. We want to bring inclusive and adaptive clothing to the mainstream. To get rid of the stigma that some customers perceive around adaptive clothing, by creating pieces that are discreetly functional and fit for purpose but beautiful and desirable by customers with and without disabilities. I’d love to see the label available with a major mainstream retailer. That would be a good sign of progress for inclusive fashion.
What advice would you give to women when shopping for adaptive clothing?
The same advice I’d give to women shopping for any type of clothing. Become educated about your choices, buy better, buy clever, seek versatility in pieces and understand as much as possible the supply chain behind the brand. Value your clothing.
Specifically on adaptive and inclusive clothing, product feedback is so important. This a nascent and niche industry but growing everyday. To ensure labels like Christina Stephens and retailers like Every Human are providing styles that work for our customers, continual feedback is essential!
What’s your favourite piece from the collection?
I love black. The black and stripe Cowl Neck Leaf Back Top for something more dressy and the black ¾ sleeve leaf back t-shirt for everyday. I wear it all the time.
What’s next for Christina Stephens? (Eg. launching new collection, expanding to different countries etc)
We are excited to be retailing through EveryHuman in Australia and we are just about to become available in the USA through online adaptive retailer, Patti and Ricky. We are also in discussions to expand the line into the UK.
We are currently working on our second collection with a design group of women from all over, living with various disabilities. We’re aiming to have that collection released by the end of the year.
What does an inclusive future look like to you?
‘Inclusive’ has a wide definition. In fashion it would mean proportionate availability of quality products in fashion retail (clothing, shoes, accessories etc) for customers living with disabilities, and representation in marketing and advertising that is reflective of 20% of the population - people living with disabilities. Disability would be normalised.
Until Next Time,