According to the Williams Institute, there are about 1.2 million nonbinary LGBTQ adults in the United States. While the fashion industry is trying to become more inclusive to different body types and abilities, there is still a gaping hole for those looking for comfortable, stylish gender-neutral clothing that is also adaptive. 

Meredith Wells (they/them), who was diagnosed in 2015 with autonomic dysfunction, which led them to become a wheelchair user, was experiencing this issue first-hand when they decided to start Social Surge, the first-ever universal designed and gender-neutral clothing brand. Instead of segregating people, Social Surge is launching a clothing line for everybody and every body.

Meredith Wells was told they would likely never walk again. They grew up being able to wear clothes like any other kid, defined their style as an adult, and then had their freedom of choice and independence ripped away in a matter of moments. A life-altering change that was amplified by the fact that the fashion industry has generally ignored and segmented people with disabilities or that look “different”, leaving them with limited and often ugly clothing options.

Meredith is a co-founder of Social Surge, the first-ever universal design clothing brand. Instead of segregating people, Social Surge is launching a clothing line for everybody and every body. 

A Chicago-based actor, singer, dancer, writer, and content creator, Meredith not only was told they would never walk again; but they might never dance again, but Meredith went on not only to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Musical Theatre but also to write, produce, perform and tour their original one-person musical "Dysfunctioning Just Fine" about the whole ordeal. 

They have toured nationally and internationally as a performer making appearances at Dance St. Louis, Symphony Hall, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Luminous Festival in Beijing, China. 

Meredith believes becoming disabled has reinvigorated their practice and forces them to reflect daily on why they chose a life in the theatre. They are grateful for their illness and passionate about giving back which is what lead them to co-create Social Surge. 

Andrew Van Dorsselaer


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Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

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