In 2020, I came across an Instagram account that immediately grabbed my attention.
Chamiah Dewey is not only a fashion student at the London College of Fashion, but she is a fashion pioneer, a disability advocate and a driven entrepreneur. Her social media is filled with statistics, educational information, fantastic interviews and endless classic style, she launched a book last week (a first in the world of its kind) - and she is still only 22 years old!
We are thrilled to share her story with you below.
We are so happy to be sharing your story with our readers. Tell us a little more about you...
Well, I am a 22 year old fashion design student at the London College of fashion, living independently in London but originally from a small village in between Winchester and Southampton. I have always loved fashion and I have always known from a very young age that I was destined to be a fashion designer and own my own brand brand which would have a positive impact on the fashion industry.
Well you have certainly achieved that already, and we cannot wait to watch your story grow! So what was it that compelled you to become an adaptive clothing designer as a career path?
Three years ago I met and worked with a girl who has achondroplasia, which is the most common form of dwarfism. She spoke so openly about the condition and how it affects her day-to-day life from getting about to what she wears. From that point I made it my mission that as soon as I was able, I would create a little people friendly clothing brand - and here I am!
I also found during my research that adaptive clothing for people of average height is often basic, outdated or medically inspired. I saw a need in the marketplace for younger women with disabilities, so after my Little People brand launch which takes place in Aug 2021, I will also be venturing into designing average height adaptive clothing (aiming to launch early 2022).
Wow so many exciting times ahead. How would you describe your brand in three words?
Adaptive, Sustainable and Transparent
That sounds great, so tell us more about the brand...
My brand, Chamiah Dewey Fashion, is a sustainable, adaptive womenswear brand for women with disabilities and dwarfism. We create high quality, timeless pieces that can be worn for years to come.
Our collections are loosely influenced by seasonal trends so you can be sure that you don’t miss out on the latest styles!
What is your favourite part of being an adaptive fashion designer?
I love that fashion changes all the time, no two days or two people are the same. I don’t think I could work in a workplace where everyday was the same so the constant changes are great for me. I also love how you can express yourself through what you wear and that can be so empowering for disabled and dwarf women especially.
What inspired your work? Do you listen to music, look at art, listen to people etc?
I find inspiration in everything from nature to architecture to emotions. I think colours have such a strong connotation to emotions and I love that, I use creamy, rosy and rouge tones for my branding because they invoke emotions of indulgence, passion and romance… they’re mature, luxurious colours that match the emotions I want to invoke in my audience.
I believe clothing should feel like an embrace, it portrays who you are and part of your personality. I often listen to music while I design, old school R&B is my favourite genre and always will be but I do also love soulful female singers like Nao, SZA and Jazmine Sullivan.
And how would you define your own personal tastes or style in clothing?
I think what would shock a lot of people is that I’m not a very ‘stylish’ person: when I am at home or with friends I wear activewear (joggers, tracksuits and gym wear), and also when I work as a Learning Support Assistant which is my full time job alongside my enterprise placement.
When I am working and need to dress in a more professional fashion, my style includes lots of knitwear, midi skirts, cardigans and jumpers. I love a blazer over a jumper especially because I’m always cold! Comfort is key for me, if it’s not comfortable I won’t wear it.
We agree wholeheartedly! There is something so classic about a good blazer.
What is the one piece of adaptive fashion that you have created that you are most proud of?
So far I’ve only made two pieces and that was for my 2nd year university project. I worked in collaboration with Urban Outfitters, where I made a custom shirt dress and soft, front zip denim corset top for Caitlin Helleyer (@asliceofcait).
When I look back on this project, I recognise how these garments were possibly not the most accessible, but it was a start. I have got some exciting ideas for this brand and I keep my community involved with my work all times. It’s so important to ask the community what they want and what would help them rather than me making assumptions on what they want.
Chamiah's 2nd Year Project Design - Photo Courtesy of Chamiah Dewey
And no doubt they are so appreciative of finally being listened to and having a voice in the industry. So finally, all creatives and entrepreneurs are super busy! On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the messiest) - how tidy is your desk at this exact moment? (mine is a solid 9 haha)
Although I work, what feels like, 24/7 – I keep my workspace as tidy and organised as possible, everything is packed into a cube unit with drawers and hidden away in boxes so I would give myself a 3, there’s always a couple of bits on the desk like a pen or paperwork but in general it’s very organised!
That is SO impressive! I need to get some tidy desk tips from you!
Chamiah, its been an absolute joy, and we wish you every success in the exciting (and busy!) years ahead. Your work needs to be shared and recognised throughout the industry as an example of how clever design can make the world a more inclusive place.
You can follow Chamiah Dewey Fashion on the following website and Social Media links:
You can buy Chamiah's Fashion Template Book for little people HERE
For support in your country for dwarfism, please click on the relevant link below:
United States of America