In Utah Salem Hills High School senior Brie Ericksen aspires to be a fashion designer and entered a national design competition with a line of clothing she designed to help people with special needs. When she started the project, she had one person in particular in mind: her friend and classmate since junior high Emmalene Meyers.
KSL TV has the story of Emmalene who was born with several disabilities, has been confined to a wheelchair all her life, and can’t communicate verbally. Because of this, it can be challenging for her mother to find clothes that work for her daughter. Brie considered all of Emmalene’s needs and designed a onesie, pants, and a wheelchair blanket for her. Throughout the design process, Brie would visit Emmalene at her home to take measurements, let her choose fabrics, and do fittings, communicating with her using American Sign Language, one of the things that brought the friends together in the first place.
In addition to the clothes specially made for Emmalene, Brie’s adaptive clothing line also includes clothes made for people with lupus, Down syndrome, and those going through chemotherapy. Her project won first place in the state in the design competition and qualified her for the national competition. But more importantly for Brie, her friend loves her new clothes. "It is definitely fun to sew clothing for myself,” she says, “but it is so much more fulfilling when you see other people wearing your clothing, especially when that clothing is helping their lives become easier."