And Able, the new clothing brand inspired by a young York woman’s battle with cancer Emily Rhodes, featured on the One Show recently with Deborah Meaden. And Able clothing has been subtly adapted to support patients having hospital treatment and procedures for cancer and other life-altering illnesses.

Appearing alongside other businesses, the segment of the show unveiled how Deborah Meaden has mentored the co-founders, Joanne Nicholson and Claire Myles Wharton, and helped them to kickstart their fledgling business which launched in April last year with a runway show at York Fashion Week.

Joanne explained: “The response to And Able has been incredible and Deborah had a fascinating insight into the brand, but also suggested next steps for us. She made us consider things that we hadn't before, and we're delighted that because of her, we'll be making some pretty big changes in the business.”

On the back of the support, And Able announced an exciting rebrand and unveiled a new collection at York Fashion Week in October last year. Most of the models who will hit the runway were undergoing treatment for life changing illnesses, or actually work for the NHS. And Able has worked in conjunction with York’s brand management agency, NIMA, on the rebrand and new website.

The business, which is self-funded, now works from the Fabrication store, on Coney Street in York. The space is allowing the business to be face to face to the customer, and offer additional services such as bra fittings for mastectomy bras, and drop in sessions for people wanting to find the right clothes for their treatments.

Joanne and Claire, who are solely responsible for the designing and pattern cutting of the clothing lines, are now seeking local and national retailers to stock the range. The new collection includes the Loci hoodie which comes in a unisex fit with several openings featuring plastic zips so people can go into an MRI scanner wearing it; pouches and other access points; a tourniquet; and a detachable hood for when people get too warm. Zipster leggings, wrap dresses and headscarves also form part of the range.

Claire added: “Deborah’s support has been invaluable and we’ve already implemented changes following her advice. Rebranding to And Able means we’re sending out a really powerful and inspirational message. And Able encompasses the brand’s vision to “enable” and “empower” customers. The logo features a DNA strand that symbolises the unique structure of life with a beautiful nod to the human instinct to fight, live and thrive.”

Joanne concluded: “And Able continues to go from strength to strength and Deborah has given us the encouragement and confidence to dream big. Plans are afoot for global expansion, with an initial focus on the American market. The world is our oyster.”

With an entirely gender neutral range, the collection features easy-to-wear linens, cosy jersey tops, wrap dresses, shirt dresses, zipster leggings, headscarves, snoods, hoodies with attached tourniquets, and jumpers with pouches to enable access to stoma bags and feeding pegs. The range has been designed with fabrics that feel soft against delicate skin, and come in an array of vibrant colours to encourage a positive mindset.

After losing her daughter, Emily Rhodes, Joanne wanted to focus her life on doing something to help other people needing procedures and treatments, such as chemotherapy, stoma bags and tracheotomies. Her business partner, Claire who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, is also passionate about helping others going through a similar experience to herself.