One 10-year-old girl's request to for a more diabetes-friendly dress inspired this clothing designer to add a whole new line of dresses to her roster.
There are over 100 million Americans who are affected with either diabetes or pre-diabetes today. Of those 100 million, a whopping 350,000 require insulin pumps to regulate their blood sugar levels so that they can live.
While great strides in insulin pump technology have been made over the years to streamline the devices so that they're not only more functional, but portable as well, it's still another device one needs to carry on their person at all times.
And when you're trying to look chic, that can be a problem. Heck, I hate how my pants look whenever I have to jam my cell phone, keys, and wallet in them, I can only imagine how uncomfortable I'd be having to figure out where to put my insulin pump if I needed one.
So imagine you're a 10-year-old girl with diabetes who needs to carry an insulin pump around. You would like to wear a cute dress without having to worry about your pump showing or annoyingly sticking out your pockets, ruining whatever aesthetic you have, and that's even if it has pockets.
Well if you're Julia Looker, you'd probably go to a local designer and ask if they could solve your dress woes, which is exactly what she did.
Young Julia hit up the services of Julie Christian, a local dress designer in her hometown of Hanover, Massachusetts. The type-1 diabetic had one request of Christian: "a dress customized for a diabetic pump."
The former police officer who took up sewing after her career in law enforcement, put all of her creativity and training under a master tailor to work, to devise a beautiful dress for young Julia that met her specific criteria.
The floral dress packs a pocket that's about the size of a deck of cards. There's also a hole inside the seam of the dresses' waist where Julia can snake the wire through to connect to the pump and into her skin. The 10-year-old calls the design, "really convenient" and it's obvious from footage courtesy of CBS Boston, that she loves the design of the dress as well.
Previously, whenever Julia would wear a dress or outfit that didn't have pockets, she'd have to wear a pair of shorts under her dress. She'd keep the insulin pump tucked away in there. Whenever she'd wear pants without pockets, she'd need to clip the device on or find somewhere else to place it. The results were often unsightly.
After word got out about the innovative solution Christian came up for Julia, other parents whose children had insulin pumps began reaching out to the designer, asking if she could put together similar dresses for them as well.
The newfound demand for the dresses isn't something that Christian could've ever dreamed of. She originally thought her career as a seamstress was going to go in another direction.
Christian originally dreamed of crafting tailor-made suits for women. However, designing these dresses for young girls is work that she's proud of, and she's happy to have found a niche, however unexpected. "I felt as though my job was accomplished. It wasn’t women’s suiting as i anticipated, it was a whole different idea. I think it’s really cool because nobody else really does this."
If you're interested in getting a custom-made dress that houses insulin pumps from Julie, you can contact her via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With more and more Americans suffering from diabetes every year, you'd think that major clothing manufacturers would step up their game and offer options for people with insulin pumps. Do you or anyone you know would benefit from having clothes with specially made pockets/holes for tubing, like Julie created?
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