Mèlange Accessibility for all Magazine Fall 2023 | Page 24
zipOns pants by befree Adaptive Clothing offer freedom and ease
Nicole Puzzo and Joanne DiCamillo co-founded befree to ease the everyday challenge of getting dressed for people with limited mobility . They remain committed to making adaptive and inclusive fashion that really works , products that provide freedom during a time when freedom feels far away .
Tell us about your company , befree , and how it came to be
The idea for zipOns ® came to Co-Founder Nicole Puzzo when her daughter Stella , who was born with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy , was scheduled for surgery on both of her hips . Stella ’ s post-surgical recovery was expected to take three months and require casts on both legs plus a bar between to stabilize her hips , making it impossible for her to wear traditional pants . Nicole asked the doctors and medical staff if they had recommendations on adaptive pants that she could dress Stella in to keep her warm and comfortable but there was nothing that existed . So , Nicole took apart a pair of pajama pants , adapted them and from there came the idea for zipOns ®.
Nicole shared this story with her friend Joanne DiCamillo , who became impassioned by the lack of available adaptive clothing and the simplicity of the design that was so impactful for Stella . After only a couple of conversations , the friends decided to take the medical staff ’ s advice and formed befree , LLC . Despite limited financial resources , they knew they had to work on