OUR STORY

It all began with Pop.

15 years after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, my grandfather was losing the ability to dress himself. With his input I designed a shirt with alternative seaming and magnetic closures in place of buttons that allowed him to dress himself while standing or seated in his wheelchair.
Two and a half years later, Pop was in a nursing home. When I visited him we would go to adaptive exercise classes together. I took him to the gym to help him transfer from his wheelchair to a stationary bike so that he could move his legs.
We practiced seated yoga together, and when I pushed him on walks outside, he would smile and laugh like he was a kid again. Pop taught me the necessity of movement throughout all phases of life, and the barriers that inhibit movement with a physical disability.
Clothing being one of these barriers.

1 in 4 adults

in the united states identify as disabled.

Percentage of adults with functional disability types:

13.7 %

Mobility

Serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs

6.8 %

INDEPENDENT LIVING

Difficulty doing errands alone

5.9 %

hEARING

Deafness or serious difficulty hearing

4.6 %

VISION

Blindness or serious difficulty seeing

3.7 %

self care

Difficulty with dressing & hygiene

[Statistics from CDC Disability and Health Program]

2 in 5

adults age 65 years and older have a disability

MOVEMENT 

Movement remains necessary through every phase of life. As we age, our bodies grow more disabled day by day. Exercise, community, mindfulness, and fresh air become tools that we can employ to preserve and celebrate the body and its capabilities at any age and any level of ability

ARTIST STATEMENT

Emily Noelle Morabito is a designer seeking solutions that address barriers of disability and the consequences of climate change. Her work aims to provide people accessibility, ease, and the opportunity to find joy in movement.

Emily Noelle’s work connects with her passion for outdoor recreation and movement. Her experience in the outdoor industry, working as an Outdoor Adventure Guide and a Yoga instructor taught her the necessity of movement for all. Her earliest work in adaptive design began when her Grandfather who, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, was losing the ability to dress himself. She showed her first line of adaptive clothing in York County Fashion Week in 2018. 

In collaboration with Parsons x Open Style Lab x AARP,  Emily Noelle is codesigning a line of adaptive activewear with individuals who identify with varying physical disabilities. For her senior thesis at Parsons School of Design, she received a grant from the New School Design for Aging fund. Through the development of kinetic draping processes, she has pushed patternmaking beyond tradition to accommodate bodies outside of the traditional fashion figure. In her design practice, environmental consciousness is manifested through the use of deadstock fabrics, recycled technical fabrics, and locally sourced wools. Natural dyeing further connects her work to nature through color palates derived from the earth. By recycling scrap fabric into new textiles she has implemented a zero waste practice. 

With empathy and a mission to share her love for the natural world, Emily Noelle advocates for the necessity of movement in bodies of all forms and abilities.