From The Straits Times    |

#HerWorldHerStory is a collection of 60 women sharing their successes, passions, challenges, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman today.

Every month from March till August, we present 10 women navigating their lives now – and in their own words. Read Elisa Lim’s story now…

Fashion design has always been my passion, but when I pursued my fashion diploma at Lasalle College of the Arts, I realised luxury fashion didn’t quite resonate with me. I began questioning my place in the fashion industry.

Then, a doctor whom I got to know asked me to design clothes for his bedridden patients, during the final year of my diploma in 2015. I thought, “What a great opportunity to help those with disabilities with my skills.” It gave me a renewed sense of purpose, and I began researching and working on the designs.

Hair Aung Apichai, using Urban Decay Makeup Dax Lye

I graduated in 2017 with a degree in fashion design, and set up Will & Well, which was inspired by my final-year project that featured a clothing line for wheelchair users.

Business was challenging in the first two years due to the lack of awareness. I’ve since relocated my studio from my home to Alexandra Hospital last November.

Many of my pieces are one-off custom designs. For example, I redesigned and replaced sewn on buttons with magnetic buttons on the school uniform for a six-year-old girl with one arm, so that she could change easily and quickly.

I also make ready-to-wear unisex pieces for my online shop, such as front slit drawstring pants with zip openings on both pant legs, originally designed for a post-hip surgery client.

I have also introduced a new workshop, Sew Simple. I started this four-part clothes-making and alteration workshops to raise more awareness on the clothing challenges faced by disabled persons, offering caregivers solutions to restyle and redesign existing clothes to improve functionality.

At these two-and-a-half-hour sessions, I teach basic sewing technics as well as the creative process to include new designs, for people with different kinds of special needs. My aim is to help disabled persons with better dressing processes, giving them a sense of ease, comfort, independence and dignity.

Currently, I’m running a social campaign, #BeTheDifference, where people can nominate those who need custom clothes but can’t afford it. They’d then be gifted with our clothes paid for by sponsors.

What’s rewarding for me is when someone sees my creations and tells me, “This is what I have been looking for”.

That’s all I need to hear, and that’s what takes me ahead.

This article was first published in Her World’s April issue. Grab a copy today!