If you didn’t know better, you’d think the royal blue pantsuit worn by SCAD student Naomi Kinnamon came straight from the designer shelves of Nieman Marcus. However, Kinnamon not only designed and created the outfit, but it’s meant to help her — and hopefully others like her — deal with the illness she’s had since sixth grade.
A native of Pennington, NJ, Kinnamon shares something in common with nearly 1.9 million of his fellow Americans. she has type 1 diabetes. Instead of letting that slow her down, she turned her disability into an ability.
“It was my project for my entire senior year. I started in September and the collection ended about a week ago. For my senior collection, I designed evening wear that fits other young women with type 1 diabetes,” said Kinnamon, a senior at SCAD Fashion. “All my clothes have a hidden pocket for an insulin pump.”
While the advent of the insulin pump – a computerized device that sends measured amounts of insulin through a catheter and needle – has freed many diabetics from normal finger pricks and daily injections, this is an article cumbersome to wear on the body or clothing.
“I was diagnosed in middle school,” she said. “As you can imagine it’s a terrible time to be someone different or to have something that sets you apart. That’s why my clothes are aimed at young women because I know it can be a real trust issue.
Kinnamon said her diagnosis made her quite embarrassed.
“My freshman year, I walk around with this big, bulky insulin pump and everyone’s like, ‘What the hell is that?’ or ‘Is that a pager?’ She paused to laugh heartily, “I mean, how did they even know what a pager was…it was long before our time.”
Her humor, confidence and family support helped her through the transition.
“I’m way beyond that now,” she said. “I know I’m amazing even though I have type 1 diabetes and nothing is holding me back anymore.”
Not from life or its fashion design and creation.
Naomi has been sewing since second grade.
“His [a skill] transmitted by the matriarchs of my family. I made my clothes as a kid and was always creative, which was encouraged in my family,” she shared.
She started her education at community college to understand her life journey.
“I realized that I could pursue this passion in a creative field and make money and have a career, so I decided to go to fashion school and applied to SCAD. was so thrilled when I came in. It was nice to be a bit down South, get away from home and have an experience somewhere else.
With his senior project: “We had this opportunity to design basically anything we wanted and it was a great opportunity for me to take that idea and apply it. I’ve always said that I don’t have any clothes that fit or fit me… well, why wouldn’t I make my own? she noted.
As someone who has dealt with issues related to diabetes, Kinnamon understood the challenges.
As someone who has known uncomfortable clothes most of her life, Kinnamon thinks what she’s created is cute and stylish, yet functional and inclusive.
The young designer has applied for a job in New York to work in the fashion industry next year, but she wants to start her own brand.
“It’s not just a project for me,” she said. “I did this with the idea of making it a future brand because there are millions of people who were just never considered in the design process.”
“I want to take Type 1 Of A Kind to the next level,” she said. “I see these clothes as prototypes for the future. I know that things will change and so will my creations, but I absolutely want to make it a brand to welcome others. I’m all about inclusivity and innovative designs that want to solve people’s problems. I don’t want to be someone who makes beautiful clothes just for fun, rather I want to do something with my technical skills where I can help people.
Kinnamon put a lot of thought into this, like any budding entrepreneur.
“I would like to partner with an organization like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association or others so that some portion of my brand profits can be donated to a charity doing diabetes research .”
She smiles at her collection.
“This is just the beginning. The possibilities are endless.”
Follow Kinnamon on instagram @naomik.designs