Fitsme Fashion

Fitting extraordinary bodies

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Our Amputee Model — Disarmed: An Exceptional Journey

Fitsme Fashion gained a real star model today for our photo shoot to display our line of anti-microbial and wicking fabric PJs.

Read the funny, touching, inspiring story of our model, Air Force pilot and service-related arm amputee John, as written by his wife, Ginger T. Manley.

Ginger Manley, Sheri DiGiovanna, John, and the arm.  Photo by:  Dieter Spears, InHaus Creative

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When Ginger Manley boarded a train from Innsbruck to Zurich in the summer of 1967, she had no idea of the adventure she was about to embark upon. Beside the railroad track in Feldkirch, Austria, Ginger, a registered nurse on the lam from a year of intensive trauma nursing, met John, an ex-fighter pilot and service-related arm amputee–and immediately disliked him. Two months later they married in what seemed a fairy-tale story but no happily-ever-after occurred for many years hence. Now at almost fifty years into their marriage, Ginger offers a sometimes stark and often humorous look into a marriage of three entities–herself, John, and that damn artificial arm of his. It is a story of inspiration, courage, and love–and of the importance of humor in triumphing over obstacles.

Get your copy:  on Amazon here,

at Barnes and Noble here,

or at Thriftbooks here.

Fitsme Meets with O’More College of Design

David-RosenLast week I had the pleasure of meeting with the new president of O’More College, David Rosen.  He gave me a wonderful tour of the campus and invited me to speak with the student body to tell my story, the story of the wonderful amputees I work with, and the mission of Fitsme Fashion. I cannot wait until young designers are giving their attention to new looks for those with missing or partial limbs and are solving the every day problems with design featuress in their Design for a Cause class.  I was thrilled that David really “gets it.”  He understands the power of clothes, of accessibility, of just-in-time custom clothes manufacturing — and how all of this can change the world for the over 30 million amputees.

Winner of the UX Magazine 2014 international Design for Experience award in the accessibility category, I am excited about guiding young designers to invent more hidden and accent pieces that will allow for ease in dressing, as well as assistance with every day tasks while also giving onlookers a chance to comment on fabulous never- before-seen designs instead of staring without words – giving amputees back their dignity and a chance to feel more normal.

Fitsme Fashion wins a 2014 International Design for Experience Award

The winners of the 2014 international Design for Experience awards.
Article No :1434 | May 8, 2015 | by UX Magazine Staff

Presenting winners of the 2014 Design for Experience awards. These people and organizations are doing vanguard work in the field of experience design and were selected as winners based in large part on what we can learn from their work. Watch for articles over the coming months that explore the winning entries in more detail.

Often, the core principles that underpin experience design can be readily applied outside the sphere of digital products and services. Fitsme is a perfect example of this. Focusing on a very real problem faced by amputees—getting dressed on their own—Fitsme creates custom clothing that’s easy for people with missing or partial limbs to put on. Magnetic clasps replace buttons for easier fastening and other modifications can be designed for each individual. For example, Alex Koslow, who was born without a right leg and wears a very heavy prosthetic, sought a pair of pants with an internal elastic panel that grabs the prosthetic below the ”knee” to help her carry the weight of her leg. Fitsme delivered.

To read entire article, see http://uxmag.com/articles/announcing-winners-in-the-2014-design-for-experience-awards

FOX NEWS: Local Fashion Designer Makes Clothes for People with Limb Loss

FOX 17 NEWS Updated: Thursday, January 29 2015, 11:20 PM CST
Stream WZTV Fox 17 Newscasts
By Mikayla Lewis

One mid-state fashion designer is doing her part, tying to help solve a problem that impacts nearly 30 million worldwide. Sheri DiGiovanna is creates modified clothing for what she calls, “extraordinary” people.

While many get dressed with little effort, it is not the case for nearly 2 million Americans with limb loss. That number does not include those born without arms or legs.

An active childhood and adult life serving in the Navy, came to a halt. Bill Eakin says he thought it was the flu four years ago. It was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that soon put him in a coma. When he woke up nearly three months later… “Missing two hands and two feet,” Eakin says. It could have been his life taken by something so small, a tick bite. Now his life is all about adapting to the world. It’s hard enough fitting into prosthetics let alone clothes.

Alex Koslow identifies in some ways, born without a leg due to a femur hip condition. “It’s called Proximal focal femoral deficiency,” says Koslow. The 24-year-old works with amputees at the Surgical Clinic, PLLC. She also runs with office’s sponsored group, Amputee Blade Runners. In some ways, she says her life is easier. “I didn’t have anything taken away from me, I can’t miss something that I never had,” says Koslow.

Sheri DiGiovanna is trying to give Koslow and Eakin, something their population is missing. FitsMe Fashion is a safe and comfortable clothing line tailor made for people with missing, partial or amputated limbs.

Click here to see FOX 17’s original story and learn more about FitsMe Fashion!

For the founder and designer, it’s also about awareness. The Amputee Coalition says nearly 185,000 Americans lose a limb each year, not including those born without. Sheri DiGiovanna says, “Yet we don’t have a word to describe people born with a missing limb and amputees, there is no word it just shows you how much we’ve ignored this group.” DiGiovanna is working with manufacturers to produce just in time custom orders.

She is still trying to raise $26,000 to reach a wide-spread audience through an Objectstream site. Although the label needs money, she is not in for the profit. DiGiovanna says, “What keeps me going is just seeing people like Bill and Alex excited that people care.” Bill EAkin says, “You just want to feel normal and you put on normal clothes and walk out and say look at me. ” Koslow says, “Reduces that thing that makes you not want to walk out the door.”

DiGiovanna also says on her site: “The $26,000 initial raise is for Objectstream to create the online ordering experience pictured in one of my posts here where customers can easily tell us what they have for us to fit, then order clothes designed to fit missing or partial limbs or to fit prosthetic devices (for ex, one sleeve length might need to be an inch longer than the other to fit over a prosthetic arm). Our stretch goals include runway shows, hiring designers, adapting sewing machines and building our own made in USA shop so amputees can do the sewing, as well.”

Read More at: http://fox17.com/news/local/local-fashion-designer-makes-clothes-for-people-with-limb-loss

FOX 17 News: Fitsme Fashion Helps Amputees Gain Independence

Mikayla Lewis covers Fitsme Fashion on FOX 17 News.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- One Berry Hill woman is addressing an issue that 30 million face world-wide. Sheri DiGiovanna started making clothes at 9-years-old, and is now dressing people with partial or missing limbs.

The idea came about a couple of years ago, when DiGiovanna came across Nicky Abdinor in Nashville. Abdinor is from South Africa and was born without arms. She travels the world as a motivational speaker. During her mid-state speech, Digiovanna says Abdinor’s long sleeves did the talking.
Sheri DiGiovanna says, “Very inspirational, but her sleeves were going like this the whole time (waving), I was so distracted.”

DiGiovanna learned Abdinor’s ill-fitting clothes were also unsafe, her sleeves getting caught in car doors. The designer decided to make the South African a shirt with no sleeves and with the ability for her to get dressed by herself with magnets. It sparked an entire fashion line: “Fitsme Fashion.” It is designed with style, safety and independence for what DiGiovanna says, are “extraordinary bodies.” She says 1 out of 200 Americans is without a limb, 77% are males so she started with menswear.

DiGiovanna says, “Even military men in uniform when they’re missing a leg they just wad up the fabric or stick it under their wheelchair and I thought surely we can do better than that for our veterans.”

Bill Eakin says, “Living in sweat pants, gym shorts and shirts since I can remember. It’s difficult enough to get those on let alone regular clothes.” Veteran Bill Eakin became the designer’s prototype. The Chattanooga resident is bilateral amputee below his knees and elbows. He is now able to dress himself easily with the help of zippers and magnets. Eakin says, “It’s so good for your self-esteem.”

DiGiovanna is constantly researching to improve her clients’ lives. She has a variety of pants with adjustable lengths for prosthetics, closed legged pants with padding, children’s apparel and even women’s evening wear. She uses different fabrics and materials like non-skid to help those with partial limbs to get a good grip when picking up objects.

Despite a grant from DiGiovanna’s church, First Unitarian Universalist, funds are still needed to make the line a reality.

A Gofundme account is set up to help raise $26,000 for an Objectstream website. The app provides custom ordering, like allowing people with prosthetics to buy different pant lengths or sleeves on one item. DiGiovanna says, “It all takes money to make it happen. Let them feel as beautiful as they are like we do and take for granted every single day.”

The designer is also hoping to hire people like her clients to work for the fashion line. She says she wants to provide apparel 100% American made.

For more information about Nicky Abdinor, go to http://nickyabdinor.com/about-nicky-abdinor/

Something New in Zippers

Fitsme Fashion applauds innovation in ability clothes.  Check out DNS Designs LLC’s new magnetic zipper.

The following is excerpts from the ABC News blog (link below)


After more than 100 years, the zipper has finally gotten a makeover, thanks to inventor Scott Peters, his mom, and his physically challenged uncle.

Peters’ uncle, Dave Peters, has myotonic dystrophy, a degenerative disease that limits the use of his hands. Lack of manual dexterity was an especially tough challenge during frigid upstate New York winters, when zipping up his jacket was a frequent and exasperating task.

Peters and his mother, Nancy Peters, who is an occupational therapist, decided to help Uncle Dave out by coming up with a zipper that was easier to manage.

Finally, six years and more than 100 prototypes later, they came up with a design that worked. Their “Quickzip” relies on a “hook-and-catch” design. The magnet on one side of the jacket pulled the pin from the other side over the top of a catch and guided it into place. Once the first set of teeth are joined, the user can grab the slider and pull the zipper closed with ease – even with one hand.

With their device working well, the team formed a company, DNS Designs LLC. They originally intended to file a patent for medical use but quickly realized their zippy little invention could be helpful to everyone who’s ever struggled with a zipper, from quick changing triathletes to little kids just learning to use their hands.

For the full article, click here.

Fitsme Fashion enrolls in PreFlight Accelerator Program

I have enrolled my startup Fitsme Fashion into the 14 week PreFlight Accelerator program at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to assist with our launch. I have been involved with the EC since its start in 2010, even serving as a mentor one year. It was my turn to be on the other side of the table and to connect with other great mentors.

As per its website, “The EC fosters innovation and entrepreneurship by Turning Ideas Into Reality, helping to start businesses and create jobs. As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, the Center is funded through sponsorships, partnerships, donations and grants. The EC relies on support from leading corporations, successful entrepreneurs and those who have a vested interest in the Center’s success.”

I received a grant from the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville (whose 7 Principal belief system includes the principal that “Everybody has worth and dignity”) to start making prototypes over a year ago. Since then, I have talked and met with many inspiring folks who have helped me to perfect our products.

For more details about the Entrepreneur Center’s PreFlight Accelerator program, click here.

Fitsme Fashion Attends HALO Freedom Warriors Weekend

Thanks to its founder, Dana Bowman, I had the honor of attending this year’s HALO for Freedom Warriors weekend in Dallas, TX attended by over 30 wounded warriors and many Medal of Honor recipients to find out what clothing needs veteran amputees might have.

As per their website: “Warrior Weekend to Remember is an exciting combination of activities meant to enrich the lives of our active duty and veteran men and women injured in combat or training. Up to thirty Wounded Warriors will participate throughout the weekend. The combination of activities is sure to put a smile on their face.”

And boy was it memorable. Attending the event were heroes we should all know by name.

Honored guests included
Medal of Honor Recipient-Navy SEAL, LT Michael Thornton
Medal of Honor Recipient-Navy SEAL, LT Thomas Norris,
Medal of Honor Recipient-Navy HMN1, ANG Col Donald Ballard,
Medal of Honor Recipient-Army LTC Bruce P. Crandall
Navy SEAL – CMC Hershel Davis
Army Air Corps Lt – Calvin J. Spann – Tuskegee Airman
USAF Col – Joe Kittinger
USMC Sgt, Force Recon – Jeff Kyle
USAF Col, Astronaut – Frederick Gregory
and Tommy Norris. MOH recipient Leroy Petry, Navy Seal Vietnam Veteran Herschel Davis, Fred Gregory, Astronaut USAF

See their bios here.

And more heroes:
James Sides USMC, who gave an arm and eye
Kiel Vickers who gave a leg
SFC Cedric King, ARMY, gave both legs ARMY
Jason Morgan, AIR FORCE, paralyzed
SSG John Jones, USMC, double amputee both below the knees
Zachariah Gore, SPC Army, triple amputee
Clebe MCCLARY, Vietnam, gave arm and eye
Col Gregory D. Gadson, US Army, bilateral above-the-knee amputee
Shilo Harris, 90 percent of his body was burned
Jay/Jason Redman, shot 11 times AK47 bullets and started Wounded Wear
Marc Fucarile, Boston Bombing Warrior lost leg
to name a few.

They were proud of their prostheses and should be. They earned them and have stories to tell that we need to hear to be reminded that our freedom is not free. Their needs for clothes focused on fabrics that don’t tear easily rubbing against prosthetic devices or wheelchairs, zippers in the inner pant seams to put on devices, and formal wear to replace the daily shorts (that do the job most days year round for them) on special occasions.

One highlight of my weekend was meeting and spending quality time with Col Joe Kittinger (POW/F18 fighter and 50 year highest skydive jump record) and his wife Sherry, who became quick supporters of our mission:

Joe Kittinger and Sheri DiGiovanna
Sherry Kittinger and Sheri Di

They not only offered me an autographed copy of his amazing book (which I read in two sittings!) but they have also provided a gift donation to assist us in providing ability clothes to veterans. Awesome people.

Come Up and Get Me by Joe Kittinger and Craig Ryan
My autographed copy of this incredible book!
LT Thomas Norris and his wife
My new friend Army LTC Bruce P. Crandall

For more information and to support HALO for FREEDOM, see http://www.haloforfreedom.org.