Diabetes Forecast is the monthly publication of the American Diabetes Association. The December 2013 issue of Diabetes Forecast features an article titled “Movers and Makers“. Fashion Designer, Jessica Floeh, originally from St. Louis, is on the cover. Jessica was diagnosed with diabetes at age 4 and began using insulin pump therapy at age 21. On her website, Jessica admits to struggling with the social inconvenience and sometimes problematic wearability of the device. She began Hanky Pancreas at Parsons the New School for Design, in New York City, after deciding to meld fashion and medical technology. During her Masters thesis preparation, she wanted to address the theme of design, technology and the human condition. This evolved from her study of the socio-psychological impact of chronic illness and the social potential of wearable health technologies. Hanky Pancreas is an online shop for Jessica’s hand sewn scarves. The scarves feature integrated pump pockets and colorful bands that transform insulin pumps into floral accessories.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica in March, 2011, at a meeting of the St Louis Diabetes Educators’. Our group found her designs to be innovative and really cute! Pictures on her website includes a St Louis diabetes Educator, modeling one of the creations. Jessica reports that the most gratifying aspect of her venture is “talking with other type 1 diabetic women and girls who have had new positive experiences because of her designs”. She’s “had the privilege to meet wonderful, passionate people in the world of health care design”. Jessica currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland; her website is hankypancreas.com.