Creator of a fashion brand that suffers from several chronic health conditions

The creator of a fashion brand with chronic health problems has a brand that produces customized clothing for people with disabilities.

Victoria Jenkins, 36, of Islington, London, is the founder of Unhidden, which subtly tailors popular styles to make them suitable for people with a range of needs, such as pants specifically tailored to people in wheelchairs.

There is also a multi-layered dress that allows easy access to stoma bags and shirts that open on the arm to make the shoulder and upper arm area accessible to people who need IV drops or other treatments like chemotherapy.

Victoria, who previously worked for brands like Victoria Beckham, has a number of conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, excessive growth of bacteria in the small intestine and irritable bowel syndrome, which cause symptoms including abdominal pain, fatigue, bloating and changes in bowel habits.

She decided to run Unhidden to help others like her, who are also struggling to wear tight clothing and dressing, after seeing that someone with a stoma needs to take off their clothes in order to heal.

Victoria Jenkins, 36, of Islington, London, is the founder of Unhidden, which subtly tailors popular styles to make them suitable for people with a range of needs, such as pants specifically tailored to people in wheelchairs.

Victoria Jenkins, 36, of Islington, London, is the founder of Unhidden, which subtly tailors popular styles to make them suitable for people with a range of needs, such as pants specifically tailored to people in wheelchairs.

Victoria has designed Unhidden clothing with discreet and hidden adaptations, compared to medical adaptive clothing, which means most people can’t see it looking like everyone’s clothing

Victoria has designed Unhidden clothing with discreet and hidden adaptations, compared to medical adaptive clothing, which means most people can’t see it looking like everyone’s clothing

She realized that there were very few clothing options for people with disabilities other than loungewear or pajamas and she wanted to create clothes that would restore their dignity.

“My stomach expands and shrinks during the day and I can’t tolerate the restriction, for example in narrow woven fabrics without stretching at the waist,” she told FEMAIL.

‘Anything that could engrave or restrict movement for me is a nightmare and anything that requires a lot of twisting to put it on, I can’t twist it, so if I can’t pull it on or the buckle isn’t on the side, I can’t wear it. ‘

Victoria graduated from the London fashion school Istituto Marangoni and got jobs in a number of brands, including Victoria Beckham.

However, she found a general lack of understanding for her medical needs.

One of the pieces is the upper part which has long laces for the front or back and winged sleeves for easier movement of the arms

The silk shirt provides access to armholes made of bamboo silk and have a hidden popper strap on the sleeves and center front

All Unhidden clothing is made from dead material / excess fabric left over from other brands that would otherwise go to landfill. The clothing, shown here at London Fashion Week, includes wrapped tops that can be tied at the front or back and have winged sleeves for easier hand movement and silk shirts that allow access to the armholes

Victoria said that the problem of inclusion is in the fashion industry

Victoria said that the problem of inclusion in the fashion industry is a “huge problem” that needs to be solved, but she said that “someone has to start somewhere”.

‘There were a few days when I just felt bad and I spent a lot of time visiting a lot of doctors,’ she said. ‘They [her employers] they weren’t always great at it. As if nothing can ever be late or late because of that. ‘

After a hospital stay in 2012 when she ruptured a stomach ulcer and was later diagnosed with conditions including gastroparesis, IBS and IBD, she felt she was often a burden to the team.

Victoria was getting harder and more frustrating, even when she was working remotely.

‘They absolutely checked you out. That in itself was very stressful because obviously people were trying to prove that you were doing something.

Victoria's collection was presented at London Fashion Week and she is passionate about inclusion, working with models with disabilities to show off her clothes, striving for accessibility within fashion.  Pictured is one of her pieces at London Fashion Week

Victoria’s collection was presented at London Fashion Week and she is passionate about inclusion, working with models with disabilities to show off her clothes, striving for accessibility within fashion. Pictured is one of her pieces at London Fashion Week

She added: ‘When you really get sick sometimes, you just want to say’ Can’t I be sick? ‘

In 2017, Victoria decided to become a freelancer and founded Unhidden.

Although running your own business is stressful, she explained that being your own boss has its bonuses.

‘I have good and bad days working Unhidden,’ she said. “Since I work from home, sometimes I need to take a bath. Sometimes I just need to lie down for an hour and I can do it because I work for myself. ‘

There was an Unhidden pop-up store on Oxford Street in 2021 and it is available for purchase online.

Covers can also be used for discreet access to pipes and people in wheelchairs

Wrapped tops also have winged sleeves that allow for easy hand movement.  The adjustments are subtle and look like everyone’s clothes

Covers can also be used for discreet access to pipes and people in wheelchairs. Clothing adjustments are subtle and look like everyone’s clothing, allow for dignity and are different from medically tailored clothing

Unhidden pieces cost between 30 and 90 pounds. Victoria hopes to lower the price when it can afford factory production lows.

The designs are made from dead material / excess fabric left over from other brands that would otherwise go to landfill.

Victoria also hopes to bring about change in the fashion industry as a whole.

She said: ‘I think there has to be some kind of mandate or policy change. I think that fashion businesses need to be far more transparent in terms of the number of employees with disabilities.

‘I know I have never seen a user in a wheelchair where I have ever worked. They have done so much when it comes to mental health, but not disability. I think they have a lot of people who provide first aid for mental health that they train. Capitalism itself is quite capable. ‘

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