You Need to Know the Story Behind Adaptive Clothing Company, Social Surge
When was the last time you noticed clothing made with people who have disabilities in mind? Never? Therein lies the problem.
We, too, were unaware of just how neglected this community has been, especially in the fashion industry, so when the team behind Social Surge told us all about their woes, we wanted to learn all we could. Social Surge is an adaptive clothing company started by a group of individuals who all face disabilities of their own. Together, they created a brand made for everybody and every body. We were lucky enough to chat with Meredith Wells, one of the co-creators of Social Surge. Below, you'll find our full interview with them.
Sweety High: Tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you and the other founders together!
Meredith Wells: My name is Meredith Aleigha Wells (they/them) and I am a Chicago-based actor, singer, dancer, writer, and content creator. After being diagnosed with autonomic dysfunction in 2015 and told I would likely never dance again, I went on not only to graduate with a bachelor's degree in musical theatre but also to write, produce, perform and tour my original one-person musical "Dysfunctioning Just Fine" about the whole ordeal.
I believe becoming disabled has reinvigorated my practice and forces me to reflect daily on why I chose a life in the theatre. I am grateful for my illness and passionate about giving back, which is what lead me to co-create Social Surge.
The co-creators and I share a common thread—we all want to build a better tomorrow. With the pandemic happening and life being challenging for everyone, we were determined to do something positive for everybody.
SH: How did the idea for Social Surge come about?
MW: There's a big push for inclusivity in fashion right now, but we noticed that nearly all brands are completely neglecting entire populations in their "inclusive" designs. As activists, advocates and visionaries, we saw that major flaw in the push for inclusivity in fashion and were inspired to do something about it. Thus, we created Social Surge, a universally designed clothing line that asks some of the most neglected consumers in fashion—disabled and gender non-conforming folks—what they need and builds fashionable functional garments around those needs.
SH: What does Social Surge mean? Tell us about the upside-down symbol!
MW: Our Upside Down ∀ logo is the symbol for the Universal Quantifier, a mathematical notation that means "For All." It's also a nod to how we aim to flip the fashion industry on its head and transform it from an exclusive to an inclusive space. In addition, it's inspired by how we flipped the script on the design process from "create the garment, find people to buy it" to "find the neglected consumers, ask them what they need, listen, create garments around those needs, repeat."
SH: What sets Social Surge apart from other fashion brands?
MW: What sets Social Surge apart is that our clothing is accessible but not specialty adaptive clothing. It's important to us that the shopping experience for disabled consumers doesn't feel segregated. Our clothing is made sustainably and with disabled individuals involved in every step of the process. With that input, Social Surge makes fashion and function work together seamlessly in order to allow everyone of all genders, sizes and abilities to shop together.
SH: What do you hope to achieve with Social Surge?
MW: Our biggest goal with Social Surge currently is to raise funding so we can get our accessible designs in the hands of the 15% of the population who could benefit from them the most. The ambitious fundraising goal is an important cornerstone of the brand because being able to place a large purchase order allows us to sell everything at a more accessible price point. This is incredibly important because nearly 25% of people with disabilities live in poverty.
SH: What makes your clothes accessible to more people?
MW: All of our garments feature a raised universal quantifier logo and the color and brand name in braille. In addition, our hoodies are equipped with vertical facing pockets (in addition to the kangaroo pocket) to keep phones, foldable canes and other small accessories secure, as well as magnetic zippers.
SH: What products do you offer on your site?
MW: Our Kickstarter Collection includes, a Braille Baseball Cap, two T-shirts and three different styles of hoodies with various accessibility features.
Love inclusivity? Look HERE for the things you can do to practice more inclusive and respectful language.