I met Nancy online.
Almost the whole world was in lockdown already and I decided that I had to contribute to keep the moods high, in a positive way. I decided to shoot some videos under the hashtag #ShopInYourWardrobe (you can find them all on Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin) to help everybody have some fun by playing with all clothes and accessories they had in their closets.
I was already a Smart Adaptive Clothing follower and one day I saw Nancy’s video on Instagram, how she would tell her followers to take care of themselves by dressing up even if they were staying at home.
Nancy was the first Diversity Styling interview I held on Instagram and so much more happened since then: it was April the 16th. She is the founder of Smart Adaptive Clothing, in Philadephia, USA.
Nancy is brave, sweet and professional.
Enjoy the read and get in touch with her if what she does is exactly what you are looking for, for yourself or your loved ones.
Who is Nancy Connor?
Breaking barriers, disrupting the fashion rules, changing lives daily.
I am your friend, neighbor, innovator, advocate: challenge the status quo, always learning, help others, and give back while making a difference. It is easy to become comfortable and complacent: but that does not work for me.
Originally from Philadelphia, PA I grew up in a large family, the youngest of 5 children. My parents always encouraged us to do the right thing: help someone, be kind to others and do our best.
Why did you start Smart Adaptive Clothing?
I was inspired by my Father, “Bo” after he broke his hip twice and his wrist within 12 months. He was in assisted living at this point as he needed help. My Father was someone who always dressed well, wore button down shirts, slacks, positive attitude, and a kind heart.
The nurses and aides did not want to take the time to dress my Father in his desired attire, we jokingly called it his uniform and they suggested Dad wear pull over sweatshirts and pull up sweatpants. I knew there had to be a better way, a different way to dressing where someone could continue or start wearing the type of clothing that they prefer, and not just sweatpants. I had to do something to elevate someone’s sense of self, confidence, independence, and dignity. It is about being inclusive and empowering people.
My prior career was in corporate America for 20+ years in medical device industry. I managed several business units that sold domestically and internationally, had complete autonomy, created strategies, pricing, had sales and marketing teams reporting to me. I knew how to run businesses and realized that I had to start Smart Adaptive Clothing to help others make dressing easier.
While creating our website, I realized that I have been living an adaptive lifestyle since age 12. At that point I had corrective surgery for severely curved spine (Scoliosis). After surgery, I wore a plaster body cast for nine months which went from my chin to my hips. They called it a “Queen Anne” collar as the top portion went around my entire neck to keep my head in place. There were several variations of said cast.
The surgery came with new “hardware” also known as a stainless-steel rod that runs the length of my spine via spinal fusion. I no longer bend as my back and spine stay straight and I am so happy to have my rod, this is my superpower. It’s mine forever. So, I adapt and make accommodations, it works for me. Frankly, I do not remember what it feels like to bend over or do a summersault.
The cast meant no cute or fashionable clothes, I wore bulky “track suits” now called athleisure wear that were extra big to fit over the cast which weighed about 35 pounds or more? That is a lot when you are a 12-year-old little girl which is already a difficult time. Clothing fits me differently than your typical woman as my ribs are turned due to Scoliosis, my ribs do not sit over my hips, they protrude in the front and back. Every time I buy something or get dressed, I see this and yet I do not see this. I think about it every day and yet I do not if that makes sense. The eyes can trick us into not seeing this anymore, but it is there and that is okay. It has become second nature to me, I adapt.
There are many types of clothing that I cannot wear and I’m fine with that because there are many types of clothing that I can wear.
Why is Smart Adaptive Clothing so special?
We start our design process with the small details in mind because that is what matters most. It is the care and detail, research and testing that makes our clothing unique. We carefully research and source our fabrics from around the globe to make sure that the “hand feels” the way it feels to the touch: soft and luxurious. Our clients may have a sensory issue, neuropathy, paralysis, and more so, soft fabric that would not create pressure sores is especially important.
Additionally, our fabrics are wrinkle resistant, washable, can be dry-cleaned and easy to care for. Our women’s blouses have UPF protection and moisture wicking properties.
This helps folks who have sun sensitivity, heat flashes, perspire and more. These features are extremely valuable especially if someone has paralysis or neuropathy and cannot feel the temperature changes.
Do you sell worldwide and how can someone purchase your collections?
Smart Adaptive Clothing is a global brand and we can ship to anywhere that you can think of, we are always trying to broaden our reach and help folks around the four corners of the earth. You can find our collection on our website: https://smartadaptiveclothing.com
What is the most amazing thing that has happened to you since starting?
There have been so many amazing things happening since launching the company in 2017. The most amazing thing, the heartwarming aspect that gives me the chills, is when I see someone put the garment on themselves for the first time, and someone glows from their inner being. There is a glow, inner confidence that beams so brightly, it is magnificent. They are so happy, proud and confident in their clothing choice that they want to brag about their clothing now versus looking down or maybe being a little embarrassed at the limited selection that they had to choose from in the past.
Every day is new and exciting, meeting like minded people, trying to help make a difference in the world. Kindness matters. I have been extremely fortunate with people receiving the brand in a positive way. A few examples: my brand is carried by a company based in the UK, England, several accounts here in the states, we were mentioned in a new #1 best seller book called “Why Fashion Brands Die and How to Save Them”, featured in Forbes, we received national press which again, helps us reach the community that we are trying to serve. At the end of the day, we want to make someone’s life easier with style. Our motto is easy fasten | effortless style | changing lives daily.
What message do you have for the fashion industry?
“Smart Adaptive Clothing is breaking down barriers and changing the fashion industry”. The fashion industry has been asleep at the wheel and we just made an extra strong pot of coffee to wake them up. Why has our community been overlooked until now with Smart Adaptive Clothing? We can make a difference. Folks living with disabilities whether permanent or temporary, chronic illness, short term injuries, neuropathy, caregivers, all want the same things that an abled body person wants. People want beautiful clothing that makes them feel and look good: because that is how you perform better.
“If you are you familiar with the “Power Suit” from the 1990 you know what I mean” says Nancy. “We use this term because of the way people felt in their “power suit” which is powerful, confident, influential, people took notice of you and listened”.
Be you and let us turn up the inner fashionista whether you are a woman or man.
Our clothing helps someone lead with their style, build confidence, independence, save time for the individual and caregiver. After all, the sexiest thing you can wear is confidence.”