Clothes and colour have always held great fascination and interest for me from when I was very young. Both clothing and colour were guaranteed to pick up my mood and brighten my day and still do to this day. As soon as I could learn how to sew, I was creating my own colourful outfits from any fabric that I could get my hands on. Weekly fabric excursions satisfied my thirst for new creation. After high school, I studied fashion design and merchandising at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute (now University). Upon graduating with a diploma in Fashion Design and another diploma in Fashion Merchandising, I embarked upon my Fashion career. Putting both of my diplomas to good use I gained experience in design, production and retail visual presentation.
An experience with a debilitating major abdominal surgery in 1993 led me to start researching the effect of clothing on the life of someone with a disability. Extensive research, design development and testing of prototypes with people with a variety of disabilities led to the launch of the initial line of six sportswear designs. Close collaboration with many organizations for various disabilities and especially athletes at local, provincial and Paralympic levels led me in new directions and created many new designs.
It was my experience working with the Paralympic athletes in 1999, to develop their competition uniforms for some North American competitions, as well as the Southern Cross Disability Games in Sydney, Australia (the precursor to the 2000 Paralympic Games), that allowed me to take my biggest strides in developing the universal clothing design concept. Upon losing the 2000 Paralympic clothing contract to Roots because the Paralympians wanted the same uniforms as the Olympians, I saw an opportunity to develop a radically different approach to clothing design. My female clients in wheelchairs solidified this idea with their repeated requests for me to make them the same designs that I was wearing. The concept of universal design and mobility sizing, which is an integral part of the Kymotion clothing line, was born. It is an idea whose time has come and is in fact long over due. It is something that I believe very strongly in.
Clothing should be inclusive, not exclusive. Everyone has the right to fashionable and functional clothing, which enhances their sense of self, allowing them to lead the lifestyle they choose and do the work they love. The Toronto Star wrote, “Her work makes a difference in the lives of a lot of people.” I regard this as a huge compliment. This is how I measure my success; how I make a difference in the lives of the people who wear my clothes. I hope to have the chance to make a difference in your life as well.