The Story of Hello Yello Inclusive Clothing
We recently sat down with Charlotte Coory who, despite juggling three young kids and her busy work as a family lawyer, decided to take the leap and start an inclusive clothing brand. Inspired by her sister’s struggles to find appropriate and fashionable clothing in the final stages of her terminal illness, Charlotte is now working full-time on Hello Yello clothing and we’re excited about what the future holds.
Tell us a bit about Hello Yello and how it came about…
Hello Yellow is an inclusive clothing online store. It’s inclusive because it’s clothes that look like they’re mainstream but they just include another section of society that’s not included by the mainstream fashion industry. All of the clothes that I stock, the first consideration is: is this fashionable? Is this something you would buy in a mainstream store?
My sister was sick and she found it difficult to find clothes that she could dress independently with and that she just liked. When such big things are going on in your life or you’re dealing with challenges, you want to be able to retain a sense of yourself.
My sister had a PICC line which made putting tops on and off difficult. She also had a G–tube coming from her stomach. As a result, she couldn’t wear conventional pyjamas as the tube from her stomach would get caught on the waist band of the pyjama bottoms.
So I decided to shop around! I confidently told my sister I would be able to find pyjamas on the internet that would fit her needs – after all you can find anything on the internet. A simple slit in the side of the pyjama bottoms for her tube to pass through would have solved the problem. I was not able to find a pair of pyjamas that fitted her needs. I tried to adapt a few pairs of pyjamas for her, without much success. But pyjama design was only one part of my sister’s wardrobe which needed a rethink.
We were astounded. Finding clothing that was not only practical but that my sister actually liked was a major struggle. During our search, we became even more surprised by the lack of clothing that was available for people who did not ‘fit the norm’ more generally.
There’s a lot of clothes I could have stocked but I had to consider budget constraints etc. so one thing I did focus on was clothes that people could wear in the workplace.
There’s research that shows clothing can be a barrier to finding work and especially for people living with disability who may struggle to find appropriate clothing.
I also really focused on dexterity as it covers such a broad range of people. My clothes allow people with dexterity issues to go to the bathroom without having to undo multiple buttons or zips etc. For example, we have Velcro and magnetic closures but they’re not visible.
Where did the name come from?
I really didn’t want a name that said “disability”. I didn’t want to create a brand that defined people by their disability.
Yellow is a fun, happy, light and positive colour which represented who we wanted to be which was an inclusive and welcoming brand.
What’s the dream?
Ultimately, I’d like it to become a department style store where anyone can shop but you can also shop by need. Where I really want to see it is in Kmart and Target where you can simply buy an item with some simple adaptations for a person with disability.
There’s also some things I’d like to see change in the industry. There’s some really simple things the industry can do to make a difference like moving from tag labels to heat pressed labels for people with sensory processing disorder or sensory sensitivities. If they simply remove the tag inside that rubs on the skin to a sticker/print on the inside of the clothing it can make a significant difference.
Charlotte also has a pre-loved clothing store on her website where you can donate inclusive clothing that you may no longer need. You can also get in touch with her if there’s an item of clothing you’re looking for and she’ll be happy to help. There will be no cost to you as she was generously donated some Australian Post express post bags.
Charlotte has kindly offered a unique discount code for the MS Queensland community. Use the code ‘MSQLD’ up to 29 February and get 10% off.