Wednesday, 30 September 2015


The Able Label designs in work
Many people we speak to are curious to know the process we’re using to take The Able Label from design to dressing at home. Our Founder Katie gives us a behind the scenes peek at how the product is lovingly made and brought to you.

The real secret to The Able Label’s innovative designs – you! Everything starts from you, the customer. Numerous focus groups are created and carried out to really understand what is needed and desired from the range. Until this is clear, we cannot move forward. This is why before The Able Label launches, a whole year has already been dedicated to understanding exactly what people need and want from an adaptive clothing range before any design work commenced.

12 months prior to anything hitting the rails, we begin the season. From attending fashion shows and watching catwalks, to reading industry articles and going on shopping trips, we note key trends in colour, pattern, silhouette and fabric.

From East with love mood board
From key trends, a story is created for the season by our wonderful design team. They create moodboards and colour palettes to convey the story, which is used as inspiration to begin initial sketches. They will also consider the feedback provided to ensure key needs are met on each garment. This is how we are able to create fashionable yet functional clothing. The customer and attention to detail are at the heart of everything they do.

“Attention to detail is at the heart of everything they do.”

Fit session to make amendments on samples
Technical Spec
There will be several sketches completed before we select the best to take forward and sample. At this stage, our garment technician will work closely with the design team to create size specs which detail all key measurements. The sketches and size specs are all put into a technical specification ready to brief to our manufacturers in Portugal.

Sampling and Trials
Our manufacturer will create samples based on the technical specifications. Before we go into production, it is crucial to test the range through further focus groups and wearer trials as we want to be certain that nothing has been lost in translation from our initial feedback. With this feedback in mind, we carry out fit sessions on our fit model to make amendments. Another sample will then be made following these amendments until we are completely satisfied we have the perfect piece.  

Testing and Production
Once happy with the samples, we then test them to ensure they pass key requirements to industry standard including colour fastness, spirality and pilling. Once we’re confident that all testing is approved, we can then give the go ahead for production commence.

“Once happy with the samples, we then test them to ensure they pass key requirements to industry standard.”

The Able Label factory where our beautiful clothes are made
Shipment and Shop
Our quality controller will visit the factory to ensure the highest standards of quality are maintained before any order is shipped to our distribution centre. This is when The Able Label’s range is in-stock ready for you!

The Verdict
So, there you have it. The process from research to rail!

Here’s some feedback from two individuals involved in wearer trials - Michelle, an Occupational Therapist and Su, who had a stroke twenty-four years ago which resulted in a fixed flexion leaving use in only one arm:

“Clothing is stylish, comfortable, high quality, good value for money and enables independence”

- Michelle, London

“I love the clothes as they are pretty yet practical”
- Su, London

Sunday, 20 September 2015


Up at the crack of dawn, The Able Label team met at the photoshoot location – a rural spot in the heart of Kent for the From East with Love photoshoot. The day began with beautiful sunshine, perfect for our models to arrive to and get to know one another over a cup of tea before one by one, they were called up to have their hair and make-up done.

Getting Ready to Shoot

These were no ordinary models – two were professionals, but five were brave enough to volunteer to participate in the photoshoot having a need or knowing someone with a need for The Able Label’s beautiful clothing designed to make dressing easier. Today’s blog post highlights the incredible lives and stories behind the models and our first photoshoot. After lunch, all models were ready for their time to shine. Hair and make-up complete, they selected their favourite The Able Label outfits along with coordinating comfy, wider fitting Hotter Shoes and easy to fasten Katheryn Cooper Jewellery. All looking stunning the ‘shoot began. The transformation was amazing. Before Ian the photographer began, everyone was extremely nervous and apprehensive about getting in front of the camera. By the end, there was no stopping them. They certainly gave the two professional models a run for their money!

Introducing the From East with Love Model Cast

From East with Love is a unique collection, not only does it fulfill The Able Label’s mission to make clothing easier to put on, it’s designed to be stylish. In tribute to those that helped us build the collection - many of the collection items are named after the models themselves! All of the volunteers are beautiful women who refuse to let life’s obstacles get in their way. A true inspiration to us all, it was great to watch the confidence ooze off of them after their make-over and when dressed in The Able Label clothes. They felt independent, comfortable and this came across in confidence – they were unstoppable.

Debbie (pictured in the middle, fourth from left)
Debbie is very much into arts and crafts, enjoys making cards and photography as well as being a keen traveller. She is a member and trustee of the Arthritis Action organisation. She has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was twelve. Pain is her biggest challenge and she cannot always raise her arms up or bend down. Debbie especially liked the wrap over top as “they are easily velcro’d open and closed and are easy to wear”. She also liked the trousers but looked great in the skirt which has been named after her.

Linda (pictured third from left)
Linda enjoys walking, cooking and spending time with her five grandchildren. She has osteoarthritis and currently sees a pain specialist to manage her pain. Linda until today, had been adamant the wrap styles did not suit her but with her larger bust, the wrap top and dress looked extremely flattering on. She even went on to say these two items were her favourites as they are so “ flattering, comfortable and easy to wear as well as very easy to use”. We simply had to name the Linda Jersey Wrap Top after her.

Su (pictured second from left)
Su lives in London and likes going to the theatre, fine food and wine as well as London history and culture. She has even started flying lessons recently! Su is twenty-four years post stroke. The stroke affected her left side resulting in a fixed flexion in her elbow limiting use of her left arm meaning dressing is with one hand. In particular, Su loved the wrap dress in gingko print navy, which looked great with black tights and Hotter brogue shoes. She commented on how comfortable the clothes were on and how they were “pretty yet practical”. The Su Jersey Wrap Dress has therefore taken on her name.

Imogene (pictured third from right)
Imogene loves walking, swimming, going to the gym and studying and chose to wear the white shirt with maxi skirt. Suffering a brain haemorrhage at just 19 after a hit and run accident, she has epilepsy, learning difficulties and memory impairment, especially spatial. Imogene commented on The Able Label styles saying, “I think they are brilliant! The designs are wonderful and they are perfect for those who have difficulty dressing. I especially liked how the tops didn’t have any buttons. Colours inside the clothes made them easier to get on”. Sporting the shirt on the day, we named it after her, Imogen Jersey Shirt.

Frankie (pictured second from right)
Frankie came to the photoshoot with her husband and has one dog. She has recently got very into gardening and also art, with one piece even being displayed at St Pauls Cathedral! She wore the printed shirt and straight leg trousers. Frankie suffered encephalitis in 2008 causing memory difficulties and seizures due to brain injury. She said she “would recommend the clothing to people at the Headway Centre” she attends “as many of them have had a stroke and have weakness in their arms or legs which the clothes would help with being lovely and easy to get into”. Debbie has the trousers named after her, Debbie Straight Leg Trousers. We look forward to showing you the full range when we launch in just one month but take a peak at this teaser of our lovely ladies! To keep up to date with the launch by joining The Able Label family and we will keep you updated with our newsletter.


One person every hour is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Like my Grandmother who was in her 70’s when diagnosed, most people get the disease aged over 50 however younger people can get it too. She is one of 127,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s as it affects one person in 500.
Tragically, it is a progressive neurological condition, which means she is not going to get better. The disease will not kill her but it will mean that symptoms will only worsen over time.
Parkinson’s is caused when nerve cells inside the brain are killed causing a lack of the chemical, dopamine. Why these cells die is unclear but it can lead several symptoms which will vary from person to person. My Grandmother battles the following physical symptoms daily:      
·      Slowness of movement
·      Rigidity or stiffness, especially after she had stopped for a period of time.
·      Shuffling when she walks
·      Freezing mid way through tasks which could take up to half an hour to overcome
·      Problems sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night, wanting to get up to complete tasks she thought she had forgotten in the day or thinking someone was knocking at the door
·      Speech and communication problems came later on as the muscles in her neck weakened making her voice softer and words more difficult to get out
·      This also has lead to difficulty swallowing as she now can sadly no longer eat solids
Unlike most with Parkinson’s, she initially had no tremor, which we believe is partly why it took her so long to be diagnosed. Only later on, she acquired a twitch in her neck and slight shakes in her hands when she became more stressed.
She also faces mental symptoms, these include:
·      Anxiety as she would constantly worry about tasks she had not done
·      Frustration, predominantly caused through the physical symptoms
·      Dementia, which came later on and has lead to short-term memory problems. She is not alone with this as up to 80 per cent of those with Parkinson’s develop Parkinson’s dementia
·      Hallucination and delusions as she would see things which were not really there like holes in her clothes for example
Currently there are no cures. There are however treatments which can help to maintain quality of life. Drugs can help to restore the level of dopamine and physical therapies can help to manage Parkinson’s through the likes of physiotherapy, speech and language as well as occupational therapy.
My Grandmother gradually became less and less confident going out, aware things like paying at the supermarket checkout, took her longer much to the frustration of other shoppers. Parkinson’s UK empathises with this which is why their campaign this year centred around ‘up your friendly’. They are encouraging everyone to make small changes to their behaviour as it can make the biggest difference to someone living with Parkinson’s disease. This could include putting the kettle on, letting someone go first, holding the door open or like my Grandmother needed, just giving someone the extra time they need without becoming frustrated.
In our case, we are providing Parkinson’s friendly clothes that will be available later this year. Our beautiful clothes inspired by my Grandmother are specifically designed to make dressing easier considering things like stiffness, slowness of movement and shakes. All the things regular clothing fails to consider which as was the case with my Grandmother, can add to frustration and feelings of isolation.
Find out more on how we are helping those with Parkinson’s through our adaptive clothing collection on our website or by emailing us directly at
For Parkinson UK’s free and confidential helpline for further help and advice call 0808 800 0303.

Monday, 7 September 2015


What is the ROOMforLIFE?
The Able Label is proud to be involved in a new, forward thinking project by Biz4Age, who are partnering with Kent County Council, along with various other local SME business like us. The project is the first of its kind in the UK, and has been developed alongside partners in the Netherlands.
Two rooms within a Kent-based care home have become ‘living laboratories’. They aim to explore the needs of the volunteers staying within the rooms to enable them to remain as independent as possible. Innovative solutions derived from these needs are then provided by local businesses, it allows businesses to check that their products have met the needs of users.
How The Able Label’s Involved
For anyone who enters the room and finds dressing difficult, they will be able to trial The Able Label clothing. We will then gain invaluable feedback to continue to enhance our range of clothing.
Another local businesses involved in the project are our friends at Centraspecialists in care and support services tailored to customer needs. They will be providing telecare, out-of-hours and lone worker monitoring services for the home.
The Able Label are very proud to have been asked to take part in this as the aim like ours, is to improve quality of life and support independent living. Predominantly for the county's senior residents, the project will complete with an action plan for healthy ageing.
We look forward to sharing further feedback from the project as it develops.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


We have been lucky enough to partner with some fantastic individuals who are expert in their industry as The Able Label builds up for launch. We invite you to meet some of the team who have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to make The Able Label what it is.

Katie Ellis, Founder
The Able Label, Katie Ellis, Founder
When she started The Able Label, Katie wanted to create a beautiful range of clothing, which had the added benefit of being extremely comfortable and easier to dress too.
Having previously worked for White Stuff as a Buyer, quality and attention to detail had been ingrained into her and she thought, ‘why not make these great clothes more accessible to everyone?’ So after seeing her grandmother find dressing become increasingly difficult due to Parkinson’s, she did. She created The Able Label.

Sally Bailey, Advisor
The Able Label, Sally Bailey, Advisor
A guru in the fashion industry, Sally was previously the CEO at White Stuff and prior to that, was Brand Director at Miss Selfridge.
She is now writing a book on ‘Good Work: How To Succeed In Business Without Selling Your Soul’. With her wealth of retail knowledge and appreciation for socially aware businesses, she has provided invaluable support and guidance to The Able Label.

John Llewelyn, Garment Designer
The Able Label, John Llewelyn, Designer
John has been designing for some of the biggest names in the business for almost 30 years. Now working on bespoke items, he has been vital in creating our designs, which not only consider style but also comfort and functionality for the end wearer. His vast tailoring experience has proved invaluable. As with everything The Able Label strives to do, attention to detail is at the heart of everything John does.

Nikki Rose, Garment Technician
The Able Label, Nikki Rose, Garment Technologist
The extremely talented Nikki, has taken the designs and customer feedback on board to create the best fitting and most functional garment whilst maintaining style. She has also ensured that all garments are passing strict quality testing and been involved in garment fit sessions to create beautiful styles which are more comfortable and easier to get on and off.

Jo Fry, Marketing and Press
The Able Label | Jo Fry | Press
Previously working in PR for White Stuff and Jack Wills, Jo is now freelance and has helped us to let the right people know about The Able Label, so those who would benefit from the clothing, will hear about it.

Ian Murrells, Photographer
The Able Label, Ian Murrells, Photographer
Ian’s photography perfectly captures the style and essence of The Able Label. He specialises in fashion and portrait photoshoots so is an expert in capturing personality. This is perfect for us as we wanted to get across that The Able Label is a lifestyle brand – it is not about age or ability, it is about making the most of every situation.  

Mei An Collier, Stylist
The Able Label, Mei An Collier, Stylist
With an impeccable eye for style and a perfectionist attitude, Mei An helped take the The Able Label photoshoot from concept to assisting on the day.
Her enthusiasm and sheer love for the job, was contagious and got everyone motivated and meant we got all the shots we needed to on a very tight schedule.

Natacha Derian, Hair and Make-up

Nat is an established international make-up artist who specialises in fashion. She has worked with a number of prestigious magazines including GraziaMarie-Claire and Cosmopolitan as well as working behind the scenes at London and Paris Fashion Weeks and red carpet events. This experience has shone through our fashion shoots with Nat keeping the models looking their best.

Nikki Belding, Hair and Make-up
The Able Label, Nikki Belding, Make-up
Making all the volunteers on our photoshoot look and feel their best, Nikki is one of our incredible hair and make-up artists.
With a vast range of styling ability, she has also worked on a diverse range of projects in the field, from the set at Holby City to creating masterpieces for Madame Tussauds.

Want to know how the team worked together to produce The Able Label's first collection? Coming soon is our blog 'from Research to Rail' - a look at every stage of the production of our garments and the promotion of it.