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Falling Fashion, Dressing for Survival With Parkinson’s

Monday March 01, 2021

Up until this moment, I’ve never been accused of sartorial savoir faire. Nevertheless, I am considering becoming a cutting-edge influencer in the field of PD fashion. After all, people with Parkinson’s are a rapidly growing and criminally underserved market. Versace, Versmachee! Check out the “fall” collection from Dopamine House Fashions.

As the flashbulbs pop, and the music blares, the first model shuffles down the runway! The crowd gasps as she shows off her avant garde ensemble: darling slip-on shoes, frisky sweat pants, a vintage t-shirt, set off with sporty knee and elbow pads, and topped with the piece de resistance, a bike helmet, complete with a dazzling LED headlamp.

The addition of the helmet is the detail that makes this outfit sing. It transforms a fall down the stairs from a few moments of sheer, unadulterated panic, ending in possible serious injury or death from a head injury, to a mere inconvenience as you reassure your horrified companions that it’s OK, you’re fine, in fact, you meant to do that.

As the music kicks up a notch, a second model minces down the runway, swathed from head to brightly painted toenails in daring, see-through bubble wrap! In addition to innovative use of a non-traditional fabric, this kicky number, actually makes falling fun, with the popping of plastic bubbles as you violently contact hard surfaces. 

The oohs and ahhs from the crowd swell as the the third model appears in full hockey goalie pads and mask, taking the Atheleisure trend to a new horizon. And, in a bit of retro nostalgia, we have the Wiley Coyote Acme Spring-Loaded Suit, covered with springs that (in theory anyway) bounce you upright after a fall, none the worse for wear. The standing ovation from the awe-struck crowd is as touching as the applause is deafening.

These looks are practical as well as eye-catching. More than a mere fashion statement, these are ensembles that boldly send a rebellious message of refusal to submit to the tyrannical whims of Parkinson’s. The full-body protection afforded by these outfits allows one to lurch into a room with confidence, knowing that should the sense of balance fail, (as it is sure to do at the most inopportune time) one can crash to the least forgiving surfaces, concrete, terrazzo, even marble, without fear of the pain and bodily harm that would otherwise result.

“But I don’t like to draw attention to myself,” you object. To which I reply, “It’s hard to remain inconspicuous when writhing in pain on the marble floor, bleeding from a compound fracture and cursing like a pirate’s parrot.” Let’s prevent that scenario entirely with an outfit that unapologetically acknowledges that as a person with Parkinson’s, you live a life of danger, any situation at any moment could go sideways without warning, because YOU could go sideways without warning.

Having Parkinson’s already sets us apart from the crowd, like it or not. Fashion is away to accept this, embrace it, and stamp it with your own uniqueness and inherent dignity as a human being. Plus a well thought-out ensemble does more than cover you up. It can protect you from the predations of Parkinson’s. At the same time, it sends a message about living life on the razor’s edge. You might not be caught dead wearing an outfit from The House of Dopamine’s fall collection, but isn’t that the whole point?

Peter Dunlap-ShohlPeter Dunlap-Shohl
NWPF Blogger

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