Love is in the Air. I have never met a couple so utterly in love and devoted to one another. In a world currently conflicted with fear and uncertainty, Sam and Katherine Goodyear radiate joy, enthusiasm, honesty and commitment. When I asked them during one of our interviews what their favourite swear word is, they looked at one another and replied practically in unison, “We don’t curse.” They see no need for it.
I met Sam and Katherine Goodyear through Sam’s sister—an industry colleague of mine, who upon learning about Differently Enabled’s journey suggested I consider them as Brand Ambassadors. They both appreciate fashion and take pride in their appearance, but buying clothes off the rack gives them no joy as clothing is not made for the proportions often associated with Down’s Syndrome. In fact, it’s been Katherine’s mother who has often sewn and altered much of Katherine’s wardrobe. Equally important have been the tailoring skills of Sam’s family.
When Michael Burke, my former occupational therapist and now Differently Enabled advisor, and the team began our interviews with Sam and Katherine, we knew we were meeting a very special couple indeed.
Sam has a very acute fashion sense, isn’t afraid to be bold, and embraces fun expressing himself. I look forward to every Zoom meeting with Sam because I don’t know whether his hair will be bleached blonde, green, blue, crimson or his natural brunette colour.
Katherine is more coy in her appearance, preferring a somewhat more subtle approach to her hairstyle. She adores Rachel from Glee and is now currently sporting fringe and long locks that can be pulled back into pony tail or worn down.
They are fiercely active in their community creating awareness about Down’s Syndrome. They are also competitive ballroom dancers, and are in fact, so good, they get no special credits for living with Down’s Syndrome. And that was all it took to inspire our design team to turn out Katherine’s ball gown and Sam’s engineered chevron shirt and stretch twill trousers designed for movement during the joy of dance.
When we publicly launched at the ASA Tu Es Canon conference in Geneva, Sam and Katherine were our case study. We have learned so much together about each other and the technology we are pioneering as we continue to research, develop and create a technology ecosystem fit for purpose to manufacture on demand bespoke product for people with atypical body morphology. Digital twins of the garments are part of our process, and here you can watch their clothes first digital dance.
As it turns out, Sam is a 3D designer himself, proficient in Clo3D, one of the fashion industry tools we use at Differently Enabled. Currently he is the artist in residence at Modern Mirror, another technology partner of Differently Enabled. Sam is one to watch as the metaverse matures. He really chuckled watching their digital ballroom ensembles dance a virtual salsa.
Despite their busy schedules, the couple also told us about their weekly date nights. How lovely to purposefully plan time to just be with one another, and celebrate their union with a night out to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.
This is the inspiration for Katherine’s shirt dress, something she can easily dress up or down depending on the occasion.
We presented their clothes to them at a photo shoot at the London office of Style Shoots, another Differently Enabled technology partner. Style Shoots Live allowed us to create the videos you see here of that day. I don’t know what impressed me more during that session: the technology, Michael, former NHS now suddenly a fashion film director (complete with holding a fan to blow Katherine’s hair Beyonce style), or Katherine who simply channeled Beyonce and gave the performance of her life!
But perhaps what really deeply stays with me, is the adoring look on Sam’s face when he ended each dance with Katherine. Looking deeply into her eyes, he would cradle her in his arms and cuddle her with so much affection I teared up. I am known to cry at weddings. Now I suppose I’ll be known for crying at photo shoots too.
PS – We have a surprise for Sam that we’ve been doing our best to keep secret until our London Fashion Week runway show Saturday Sept 17. If you can’t get tickets for the show, tune in to our Instagram and Facebook pages to watch it streaming live. I’m so excited I can barely contain myself! Watch this space.
The Flat Front Trouser has a relaxed fit, front slash (angled) pockets, two back pockets, and a functional fly front. The front can be closed with either poppers, buttons, or a zipper as you require.
Designed to express the joy of dance, The Ball Gown is a timeless classic resembling two piece dressing. The skirt is full and features tulle for fullness and a pop of colour when twirling in the ballroom. This style features an exposed back zipper with an elongated decorative ribbon pull making it easy to put on by yourself.