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Afterpay’s Australian Fashion Week features Australia’s First Adaptive Fashion Show with Carol Taylor and Jessie Sadler

Twenty per cent of Australians reportedly have a disability, yet 2022 was the first year that the Afterpay Australian Fashion Week featured an adaptive fashion runway, of which a Mable Community Grant helped to bring five spectacular outfits to the stage. 

Mable awarded a $10,000 Community Grant to Carol Taylor, the world’s first quadriplegic fashion designer, who recently became co-owner of the Christina Stephens label, alongside Founder Jessie Sadler. 

Mable Community Grant winner Carol Taylor and adaptive fashion designer Jessie Sadler pictured with the Mable team at Afterpay's Fashion week.

Mable Community Grant winner Carol Taylor and adaptive fashion designer Jessie Sadler pictured with the Mable team at Afterpay’s fashion week.

Carol said the grant was instrumental in helping cover sampling costs of the designs, which have received rave reviews from media across the country. 

In 2001, an accident severed Carol’s spinal cord, resulting in complete paralysis from the chest down.

“We create universal clothing designs that appeal to people with disability or dexterity issues, seniors and able-bodied individuals. Our designs use magnetic buttons and zips to assist in dressing while flattering figures of people permanently seated in wheelchairs by incorporating many A-frame shapes. 

“I’ve always loved fashion, right from childhood, and sustaining an injury didn’t change that. Fashion affects our core sense of identity, confidence and the outside world treats us.

“I might be on wheels, but fashion moves me forward. After the accident, I started to wear colour and find, create and make clothing to feel like the person I was pre-injury. It was cathartic. It changed me and put me on the road to good mental health. That’s how powerful clothing is,” Carol said. 

On Thursday, 12 May, the adaptive fashion show hit the runway featuring people with a disability. The ground-breaking showcase prompted a standing ovation, rapturous applause and even a few tears.

Mable CEO Peter Scutt said the Mable Community Grants Committee chose to support Carol and her collaboration with Jessie Sadler via the fashion house Christina Stephens to produce their designs under the Adaptive Clothing Collective runway. The garments are colourful and stylish and cater to people with a wide range of disabilities or individuals with dexterity issues allowing them to dress independently and feel confident.

“Our mission is to bring people together at Mable, and through Mable Community Grants, we aim to fund innovative projects, and people focused on fostering true inclusivity. So, I’m thrilled that Mable Community Grants could support Carol in her quest to bridge the gap between people with disability, older Australians and those with health or dexterity issues and high fashion.

“The Mable Community Grants initiative supports people and projects that improve independence and inclusion for people with disability and older Australians. The grants provide a platform for the community to be the change they most want to see in society,” Peter said.

At Mable we believe in an inclusive society where everyone belongs. Through Mable’s Community Grants, we aim to fund people and projects that promote independence and inclusion for people with disability and older Australians. Find out more about Mable Community Grants.

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