Since we first launched our Chatfield walking stick, we’ve met a bunch of people who come from different walks of life, and who are doing great things to drive awareness for different causes. Labels don’t define these people, but interests do. Nothing is alike for this group and, at the same time, everything is alike. All are explorers, who are hilarious, thoughtful, and downright bad ass. And, we’re glad to call them our friends.
The Inclusive Fashion + Design Collective is a trade association for designers and manufacturers of inclusive products that question the status quo and strive to enhance the lives of those with disabilities. The mission of the IFDC is to increase the impact of beautiful, functional products in our everyday lives and in the global economy.
Liz got sick in 2012, and things started falling apart. But, she learned a few things and didn’t let a bit of bad news get her down. She got on her horse and, like Paul Revere, started riding into the night. Liz started knocking on the doors of major corporations to bring awareness to the stigma of disability, and many people began to take notice. Through her advocacy efforts, Liz started a petition called #YesJCrew, with the idea of getting mainstream retailers, like J.Crew, to carry products like walking canes; they carry eye glasses, so why not canes? Her work has been featured in many different media publications, including, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and the New Yorker. Liz lives in New York with the love of her life, Megan, and her dog, Hanky.
Kellen was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010, and things went downhill quickly. A short six months after his diagnosis, Kellen couldn’t walk, see, or feel much of anything. That was only the beginning. He felt lost. He couldn’t help out around the house. He couldn’t keep up with friends. He couldn’t even keep up with the large crowd of commuters on his way to work. Living with MS has shown Kellen that a “normal” life is all relative. Just because MS may limit him in doing some “normal” things, it doesn’t mean that is life is any less normal than that of an average person. If anything, MS has inspired Kellen to pursue and document the adventures of his life. And, his family has become closer from it. Kellen lives in the Pacific Northwest, with his main squeeze, Meghann, and his son, Tucker.
Christie is a number crunching photographer, who loves riding her bike really, really fast! She is also an explorer, who has an unnatural addiction to notebooks. Why not? In 2009, just after finishing a bike ride, Christie felt numbness in the right side of her face, neck, and shoulders. She brushed it off as a result of her really, really fast ride. After seeing many different health specialists, it was official. MRIs revealed lesions on her spinal cord with a wee one on the brain and Christie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Like most people living with a disease, she didn’t sign up for it. MS wasn’t part of the picture for Christie; it was the script of someone else’s life. Not hers. But, she realized that MS didn’t define her, and was just one aspect of the many exciting things in her life. Now, Christie does everything in her power to not let MS get in the way of doing the things she loves. Christie lives in California with her camera, bike, and notebooks. Through her blog, she documents her journey with MS and how to find humor in everyday life.