Tag Archives: cancer

Designer Stoma Bags & Ostomy Devices

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Silicone stoma device image credit: Dezeen

Until recently, the word colostomy had not featured in our lives. Now, within the last year, two family members suddenly found themselves with a colostomy bag as a result of major bowel and cancer operations, which requires a steep learning curve on maintenance and management and the emotional impact should not be underestimated. Some stomas can be reversed, but many are for life.

However, ostomy bags have come a long way and in many cases, they can be life-changing for the better, as they allow for a piece of diseased organ to be removed, allowing the user to live a healthier and fuller life.

After the initial operation, you are left with a stoma, which is the healthy end of the intestine, turned inside out and sits externally on the abdomen. This is the exit point for the poo and is the piece that the stoma bag can be fixed to. Stoma bags can now be ordered to your stoma’s own specific dimensions, ensuring a snugger fit which is more comfortable and less likely to leak.

Fashion designer Ted Baker had a temporary stoma and after experiencing the products that were then available to him, he worked with the manufacturer Coloplast to improve the design of the bag.

With both family members, it is a hidden disability and access to an accessible washroom can make life easier as this provides a washbasin next to the toilet which is really important for hygiene. Having a stoma bag makes you eligible for a Radar Key, providing access to accessible toilets around the UK.

Colostomy or stoma bags can generally be unattractive and quite unsexy, to say the least, but with the help of tattoos and a bit of imagination, some creative people have found a way to make them more attractive for intimate moments.

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image credit: Dezeen

Inspired by her own family’s struggle with Crohn’s disease, Brunel University Graduate Stephanie Monty designed a prototype silicone ostomy device which is washable and re-usable and more appealing than the usual pouch. The flexible device adheres to the users’s skin, and is covered with a waterproof membrane that creates a natural, skin-like feel. Inflammation and infection are also an issue, so she included integrated vents that release gas but contain odours.

Northumbria  University student James Shutt noticed that stoma users were getting younger and after research involving teenage colostomy users, came up with the ‘Myostomy’ product.

Stoma decoration Myostomy range

Stoma device Myostomy Range

James found colostomy users struggle with sexual intimacy and body consciousness, as well as more practical issues such as the bag inflating with wind, or concerns about leaving their spare bags and cleaning kits behind if they stayed over at friends or a partner’s house. They also found that their partners were put off by the bag at intimate moments and really needed something that would be more discreet which would give the them more confidence with body image.

stoma plug myostomy range

Stoma Plug Myostomy Range

James’s Myostomy range includes a jewellery stoma plug that fits into the stoma to prevent any bowel accidents at intimate moments, which restores dignity for the user. James also came up with the idea of body art and tattoos to help users embrace their stoma. As yet, the Myostomy range has yet to be launched.

Support:

The Colostomy Association is available for support and they run the Stoma Aid project which collates unused stoma bags and re-distributes them to patients living with stomas in developing countries that cannot afford or access supplies.

StomaWise is an internet based support website offering support and advice to Ostomates of all types. They are available online and a contact telephone number is also available.

Top & Derby: The Design Interview

designed2enable has a few words with Matt and Ben of Canadian design company Top & Derby, the people behind our beautiful new Chatfield Canes and Compression Socks.

Trendy contemporary walking stick

Top & Derby Canes 

Ben: Matt and I met while working for the international furniture retailer, EQ3. I did store planning and design for the each of the company’s corporate stores and independent retail partners around the world. Matt worked as an independent product designer, and designed many of the company’s top selling upholstery and casegood items.

We saw there was a gap in the home healthcare market for well-designed products, and from this little spark, Top & Derby was born.

d2e: What inspired you to focus on healthcare products and on the Chatfield cane as your launch product?

Matt: Although we would have loved to design and launch a large portfolio of products, we decided to focus initially on one product in order to test the market. Since walking canes were once used as a fashion accessory, and they are currently the most frequently used mobility accessory, we decided to launch a cane as our first product.

Additionally, the Chatfield was designed to be a simple and beautiful product, crafted of premium materials. We wanted people to be excited by the cane that they use, since many people are embarrassed to use a cane. Essentially, we started with a product that we felt our customers would be proud to own.

Top & Derby 3 canes resize

d2e: Was there a particular person who inspired you to produce such a dandy cane?

Matt: We didn’t have one particular person in mind when we designed the Chatfield. We thought about every person who uses clinical looking home healthcare products and how we could enhance their lives; we didn’t think it was fair that there was limited choice in the products that they were using. Overall, our goal with Top & Derby has been to make an impact on the industry with unique, design-driven home healthcare products.

Medical socks for tired legs

Top & Derby Compression Socks

d2e: Why did you choose compression socks for your second product?

Ben: We decided to launch compression socks because they represent a meaningful product extension for the Top & Derby product range. Like canes, compression socks are also fashion accessories for people who use home healthcare products. We’ve been delighted with the reception to our decidedly different sock designs.

d2e: You launched your products with Kickstarter funding. Did you have an overwhelming response to the Kickstarter campaign? Can you give us any insight into the pros and cons of the crowdfunding process?

Ben: Kickstarter is a topic that we could write a book about; we’ve launched two crowdfunding campaigns and have become quite intimate with the process of it. We have been fortunate to receive funding through both of our campaigns, but we don’t take for granted the hard work that goes into planning a successful campaign.

In a nutshell, the pros of crowdfunding are twofold.

1) It gives people the opportunity to access capital, test the market with an idea, and generate pre-sales for a product before it goes into production.

2) Crowdfunding provides people the opportunity to gain exposure in the market – sometimes through press and other times through organic site traffic – which helps to generate awareness for both a product and company.

Often, the biggest pitfall for crowdfunders is underestimating the capital required to launch a project. Underestimating capital can compromise a person’s ability to be able to deliver on his or her promises further down the road. Fortunately, we have not encountered these issues. Prior to launching each of our campaigns, we have been quite diligent in fully understanding the strategy and economics of crowdfunding.

Compression flight socks

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d2e: Can you share any information on the design process and how long it took to design the canes.

Matt: The design process for our canes, and for all of our products in development, is often quite long. Ben and I often jam on product concepts, then I start drawing rough sketches. Eventually these sketches are turned into renderings and we will build some rapid (rough) prototypes before finding factories that we might want to work with to produce our designs. Once we narrow down the factories that we want to work with, we get some pre-production prototypes built and refine them until we are happy for them to go into production.

d2e: What challenges/setbacks did you come up against in manufacturing the products – or did the whole process run very smoothly? 

Matt: The most challenging thing about manufacturing any type of product is finding high quality manufacturers that can deliver on the vision we have for a product. Since our products often combine multiple materials, it can be challenging to find one manufacturer with the capabilities to produce products that use many different materials and manufacturing processes.

d2e: How do you select the manufacturers that produce your products? Did they have to meet certain criteria?

Matt: We spend a great deal of time finding the high quality manufacturing partners. Once we design rough prototypes, the longest part of the development cycle is finding manufacturers that we want to work with.

d2e: Have you had any specific feedback from retailers/design institutes and the general public? Are the larger department stores buying into the idea?

Ben: The general public (who use home healthcare products) seem to really resonate with the T&D brand and what we are trying to achieve. Larger department stores are not as open to the idea, since they don’t believe that consumers want design-driven home healthcare products. However, we believe that it will only be a matter of time before the market demands it.

If you would like to know more about Top & Derby’s products, check out the Chatfield walking cane and compression socks at designed2enable.co.uk

 

 

Guest Blog: By Gemma Flanagan for Models of Diversity #disabilityfight4fashionright Tour

 

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Gemma Flanagan

I am like most Liverpool lovelies, I love fashion and feeling glamorous is not just a description, it is a way of life. Things changed a bit for me in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS), which left me in hospital for the best part of a year fighting against it and then in intensive rehabilitation. As a result of my illness I can no longer walk or stand unaided & rely mainly on a wheelchair. Throughout my life, fashion has always been a massive part of who I am and something I enjoy spending time on, so why should it not still be now. Like millions of others living with disabilities, I buy the magazines, brands and products but we are in no way represented by them…why not?!? In this day and age it is crazy that we are still discriminated against in this way.

It is so hard to believe that in 2015, we are still having to fight against discrimination and inequality. But this is exactly what we at Models of Diversity (http://www.modelsofdiversity.org) are doing. The amazing Angel Sinclair (CEO of Models of Diversity), started up MOD in 2008, and since has been tirelessly campaigning for more diversity within fashion. I discovered this not for profit organisation a few years ago, and it has really been a saviour to me. Meeting Angel and all the team, I discovered that despite my outward appearance and abilities changing, I was still me and was able to pursue modelling now as a model with disabilities.

Chelsey Jay, from Essex, the Director for disabled models has used a wheelchair for a number of years as a result of a condition she developed called POTS (Postural Tachycardia syndrome), through which she faints if she attempts to stand up. Chelsey has worked so hard in trying to bring about change for the better, through pushing boundaries with brands and labels, arranging meetings with head offices and getting our name out there through media. Despite her determination unfortunately we are still battling.

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Gemma and Chelsea Jay

To try and stop the inequality for good, Chelsey and Angel came up with the idea for a campaign which will hopefully change the inequality in fashion for good. The campaign will involve us touring around the UK to major cities, gaining the support of the public. Chelsey has got the backing of Kate Green MP who has helped put together a petition, meaning once we obtain enough signatures and present it to parliament, attention will have to be given to this matter. This would mean that disabled models would be used as regularly as any other model. Once we have the signatures required we can present it to parliament showing we have the support of the public and we would then need to be listened to seriously.

Gemma Tour1

Together with Chelsey and myself, our #disabilityfight4fashionright tour is made up of two other gorgeous models. Elesha Turner, from Hastings who relies on a crutch after having major surgery to battle cancer in her thigh bone has had a major successes worldwide since becoming a model with disabilities. And also Katie Knowles, from Newcastle who uses a crutch after spinal surgery a number of years ago for treatment of disc degenerative disease and spinal stenosis, who is passionate about being a part of this change and making people take notice of us as models with disabilities.

As we are a not for profit organisation, nothing that any of our team do is funded in any way, so in order for this tour and campaign to go ahead we are in need of support. As we all live in different parts of the UK, there will be substantial travel that needs to be funded so we can get this tour up and running. We are looking for organisations, businesses or individuals who can provide financial support to the tour to simply fund travel costs or indeed help us with travel in any way. We will have both local and national press coverage in each location which will be amazing publicity for any company wanting to help us. We will ensure your organisation/business receives credit in any press that we do, and can discuss brand promotion etc too if applicable. The cities we will be touring are; Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Essex, Birmingham and Brighton (though we would love to add more cities depending on funding). In return for any support, we would also (where appropriate) provide ourselves as models for photo-shoot to promote your organisation, brand or products completely fee free.

Gemma Tour3

We have set up a ‘go fund me’ page (http://www.gofundme.com/vrusu7q), which any kind hearted individuals can make donations to. Literally we are truly grateful of any donation no matter how small or large. Please feel free to get in touch if you can help and please share to others, who you think may be interested in helping in any way:

 

Gemma@modelsofdiversity.org

Social media handles:

Twitter – @modsofdiversity

Instagram – @modelsofdiversity

#disabilityfight4fashionright

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