Open Style Lab is a conduit for improving the lives of persons with varying capabilities. OSL has helped me solve what I thought to be an insurmountable challenge, navigating through the streets of New York City in the rain.
I know that OSL is meant to be a learning experience for the students, but it was a learning experience for me, too. Seeing what goes in to clothing design behind the scenes is a powerful reminder of how truly accessible fashion is a collaborative process that starts from the faintest ideas.
Participating as an Open Style Lab client helped me understand not only how to better communicate certain aspects of my disability, but also that life with a disability is a constant learning process and there are things I am still learning about myself and my abilities.
I loved that through Open Style Lab, young men and women realize wholeheartedly that disability isn't something to be feared or hated, but an ordinary challenge that like any other just needs the right solutions.
The expression of personal style for people with disabilities tends to be overlooked. Open Style Lab recognizes, celebrates and enables us to express ourselves through clothing that looks great, and makes us feel good, but functions as well.
Open Style Lab opened up the world of collaborative universal fashion to me. My team of incredible thoughtful women, anticipated my wants and needs and gave me something that reflected me - as a woman, an advocate, and speaker and even gave me (purple) wings! It opened the door for me to what fashion can and should be: something that makes my life easier, more beautiful, and something that reflects my authentic self!
Pete is 28 years old and performs with Heidi Latsky Dance. He studied Urban Planning and Environmental Studies at Queens College. Pete has had cerebral palsy since birth and uses both a manual wheelchair (primary use) and crutches (secondary use) for mobility.