It’s a value brought to life by 24-year-old Swedish fashion designer Louise Linderoth, who has designed a collection of jeans for people in wheelchairs.
“It’s important that everyone has the opportunity to express themselves and the opportunity to have a personal style, whether you use a wheelchair or not,” she tells SI News.
Since graduating from the Swedish School of Textiles in 2017, Linderoth has caused quite a stir in the fashion world.
Her degree collection ‘Have a Seat’, a conceptual collection of jeans constructed for a seated position, has been displayed on catwalks at London Fashion Week, Stockholm Fashion Week, and Ethno Tendance Fashion Week in Brussels.
“When you sit down in the jeans they ‘fit’ in a different way,” says Linderoth of the collection.
She explains then when seated, the jeans become higher in the front and lower in the back, pushing in the stomach and creating a gap in the back. Overall, the fit is comfier and more flattering for people who spend much of their time sitting down.
“The jeans are great if you use a wheelchair, but also if you are working in an office or university and are sitting a lot,” Linderoth adds.
Louise Linderoth EXI17 Modedesign. Photo: Peter Håkansson
‘Have a Seat’ has been praised for diversifying the fashion scene, with Vogue magazine hailing it as ‘the most inspiring of more than 20 collections shown’ by the Swedish School of Textiles at Stockholm’s Spring Fashion Week in August 2017.
But where did Linderoth, originally from Örebro in central Sweden, find her inspiration to begin with?
Following a spinal cord injury, the young designer began using a wheelchair and, finding her style choices limited, decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I got tired of only wearing soft leggings and started experimenting with the shape of the jeans,” she explains.
She experimented with the design of jeans until she found a construction that followed the body in a seated position.
“I thought more people could benefit from this,” she says. “The collection was all about starting a discussion. I think it’s important to see different bodies in fashion, and I wanted to make more people feel represented on the catwalks.”
Linderoth is now working with Swedish fashion brand Dr Denim to commercialise the construction idea from her degree collection and create a line of jeans constructed for a seated position.
The ambition is that the jeans will, in the near future, be available to purchase online and in stores.
“This could be part of a change and development of the fashion scene. It would be amazing to see it spread outside of Sweden, and I really hope it will.”