Victoria Jenkins is a garment technologist with 14 years experience in the fashion industry who became Disabled in her 20s.
She founded Unhidden after a chance encounter with a woman with cancer that changed the course of her life. This is Unhidden’s story.
“I have worked with many household name brands - from the high street to high end - over my career. When I became Disabled, it should have been then that I realised that none of my old clothes adjusted to my new needs.
But it was during a 10-day hospital stay in 2016 that I met a fellow patient who changed the course of my life and switched on the light bulb.
She had survived cancer, but she was left with multiple other conditions. She had openings in her stomach to release waste (called a stoma) and she also had lines in her arm to deliver medicine and she was in hospital to have a chest port fitted.
Every time the doctors came round she had to remove all her clothing, usually in front of a team of doctors. She couldn't even access her own stoma, arm line or chest port without removing clothing or exposing herself in some way throughout her daily life.
Pyjama tops and loungewear were her only options - but she told me she wanted to dress in nicer clothes - but nothing would adapt.
I remember watching her from the other side of the ward and thinking ‘there must be companies out there to help’ but Google returned few results. It was then, in that hospital, in front of that amazing lady that the idea of Unhidden was born.
Future plans include a not-for-profit arm training people with disabilities and chronic health conditions how to sew adaptive alterations so they can then work as and when they choose making adaptive alterations for any one who doesn't sew.
Workshops are coming soon that will cover how to adapt clothing you already own yourself so there is no barrier to accessing adaptive clothing and re-loving your existing wardrobes.
Victoria is also a brand ambassador for Models of Diversity and co founder of No Comment Required, an ethical slogan clothing range focusing on positive representation for people with mental health issues and disabilities as well as all marginalised groups.