Every little person should be able to buy beautiful clothes yet there are still no fashionable items available in standard sizes. That’s something Sema Gedik wants to change – with her project titled "Auf Augenhöhe" (English: At Eye Level). REHACARE.com talked with the designer about her inspiration, her goals and the obstacles she had to overcome.
Ms. Gedik, what inspired you to design fashion for little people?
Sema Gedik: My cousin Funda, who is a little person, is my biggest inspiration. She loves beautiful clothes. Our conversations about fashion and her challenges in finding cute, stylish items have definitely given me motivation. There are some individual approaches in the U.S. and the Scandinavian region. Having said that, I am not aware of any project that equates to the scope of my venture – unfortunately. I am a pioneer in this field:
What were your initial challenges?
Gedik: That immediately makes me think of when I made my first sports jacket: I had to do numerous fittings. The first pants, shirts, blouses, and jackets I designed also didn’t fit right at all. The main issue was to understand the body shape. I had to learn the specific design skills required to accommodate these proportions. The particular challenges in my work include shorter arms and legs, the comparatively larger backside, pronounced calves, knees and often also an exaggerated arch in the lower back. This makes tailoring slightly more complicated.
What are your next steps?
Gedik: I hope my project will continue to grow and become a flourishing business. In the next one or two years, I would like to launch professionally-made clothing for my target group and finally give all people, who don’t fit into regular sizes the chance to purchase off the rack and ready to wear fashion that fits. I dream of providing a one-stop package deal. So not just the typical outfits, but also shoes, gloves, hosiery and wedding dresses. My short-term goal is the creation of the world’s first clothing size chart for little people. To accomplish this, I am measuring little people here in Germany and from other countries. I would also like to attract interested investors who want to participate in this project and continue the positive development of Auf Augenhöhe in the long run.
Gedik: It means something that is already increasingly becoming a reality in society but something the fashion world is still struggling with: the inclusion of people with disabilities. Fashion should be an everyday item that appeals to all people of society. One example of inclusion is inclusive schools where students with and students without disabilities are learning together.
As an everyday item, fashion should address all people because everybody wants to dress well. Right now, my target audience is invisible to the popular fashion designers. The objective of my project is a stronger focus on including little people in everyday fashion. The primary emphasis of my work is to stop my customers from being ignored and to meet them At Eye Level (Auf Augenhöhe).