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/