We are so excited to showcase our very own inclusion icon, Candace Renee. As a member of The Seam Team, Candace fortifies our fashion brand with her lived experiences with accessibility and inclusion, refining our joined efforts to rock the world of clothing design. She opens up about her style icons, loves, and life with lymphedema.
Interviewer: Let's start light – can you tell me about a favourite outfit or piece from your childhood? What made it special to you?
Candace: I actually love and wore short overalls a lot! And not just regular blue jeans, but with different bright colors and prints on them.
In 2018, Candace was diagnosed with lymphedema. This occurs when there is a blockage of the lymphatic system. It most commonly affects the arms or legs, but can also occur in the chest, abdomen, neck and other areas. Candace is a digital creator who shares her experiences with lymphedema – and not to mention snaps of her Southern Belle style.
Interviewer: In your own words, can you briefly explain what lymphedema is and how it impacts your life individually?
Candace: At first it’s a little scary because you’re learning all of this information that could or could not affect your body. And I’m so dramatic, I’m thinking of the worst of the worst. Not realizing I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do to maintain my legs.
Interviewer: Who are the style icons/inspiration from your life? Can you describe your own style or experience with shopping before symptoms and diagnosis with lymphedema?
Candace: Oh wow, my style icons! That’s tough because I’m such a visual, and I look and pay attention to everyone's style to see how could I make it my own. So I would have to say everyone is my inspiration.
I casually like to get pieces to stick out and I know I can wear a million different ways, to get people talking, like “is that the same garment you had before but you are wearing it differently?”
Interviewer: Are there any changes you've had to make to what you wear or what you look for when shopping now?
Candace: Well, now I do buy more straight-leg pants than skinny jeans just in case my legs decide they want to have a bad day and swell up on me. And I’m more cautious of what shoes I wear and if they are comfortable on the sole of my feet.
Interviewer: What are the biggest barriers to finding clothes? What do you wish brands and designers knew?
Candace: That all plus size isn’t the same, and when selling extended sizes, they should have models that represent that extended size so we can get a visual.
Interviewer: What is a misconception about lymphedema or disability that you'd love to erase?
Candace: That we are lazy and we want a pity party! Absolutely not!
Explore the lymphedema community and join support networks with these resources:
LymphEd: Connect with resources and therapists.
The Lymphie Life: Helpful links and resources from fellow lymphedema bloggers to treatment providers.
Keep up with Candace
Interested in what Candace is getting up to? Follow her on Instagram at @inaturally_can. And be sure to read our blog posts for a spotlight on amazing accessibility and inclusion advocates here to make a stylish statement standing and seated, together.