Kennedy Rhoades – Making Fashion Inclusive and Accessible With Vertige Adaptive

Strategic Organizational Communications

I became familiar with the brand Vertige Adaptive when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness called POTS just six months ago. In an effort to feel less alone, I reached out to a friend from High School named Haley who I knew had the same chronic illness. After reconnecting, I learned about the incredible business she was starting and wanted to be a part of it. Haley was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology and had just won the Pete Prize Award through her school and was granted $30,000 to launch her adaptive wear brand, Vertige Adaptive. 

Vertige Adaptive is an adaptive, fashion-forward clothing brand, committed to making fashion inclusive and accessible for everyone. Growing up, Haley used fashion as a tool to help her cope with her chronic illnesses and eventually it transformed into a passion for helping people reclaim their identity and feel confident and powerful despite their challenges.

In order to help prepare for the launch of Vertige Adaptive coming this Summer, Haley and I came up with three main categories we felt were in my wheelhouse of skills and would benefit the brand the most. 

Blog Posts: 

Words have the power to tell a story in a way that connects with people. Haley’s story and the story of her brand are stories I was passionate about telling and that I felt the world needed to hear. I wrote a total of 17 blogs. These blog posts add content to the website so while people wait for the first line of clothing to launch, they can get a feel for the message of the brand through the blog posts. The blogs can be accessed through this link (A few of the blog posts that talk about adaptive features can’t be published until Haley gets patents on some things. Because of this, they aren’t featured on the website yet but are scheduled to be published at a later time. If you need to see them for grading purposes, I can give you access.)


Haley attends different events where she talks about Vertige Adaptive with investors and other people involved in the fashion industry. I wanted to create something she could hand out at these events that told the story of Vertige Adaptive beyond just a business card. These booklets tell Haley’s story and represent the story of so many others in the adaptive community. The hope was that these booklets would give people attending these events something to take home and remember. 

Ambassador Program:

I think my favorite part of this whole project was the ambassador program. What’s so special about Vertige Adaptive is that it creates space for people who might not fit into the box of mainstream fashion. I found 6 women, all with various adaptive needs, who are so excited about Vertige Adaptive. Getting to hear their stories was not only inspiring but made me that much more passionate about helping to promote a brand that makes them feel seen. These women expressed how it can be difficult to find clothing that works with their adaptive needs. Some of these women have medical devices and cords that they have to wear on the outside of their clothing which can make them feel self-conscious. They all expressed how it would increase their confidence to be able to wear clothes that were cute and stylish, and could conceal their medical devices. I sent a PR package to these 6 women with some goodies inside and a welcome to the Vertige Adaptive Family note inside. Once the brand launches this Summer, each of these girls will receive a discount code for sharing about Vertige Adaptive on social media. 

Time Accounting:

In conclusion, it was a special experience for me to get to work with a brand that I feel so passionate about and that has such an impactful mission. I get to attend the annual Adaptive Spirit fundraising event for the U.S. Para-Olympic ski and snowboarding teams in Vail Colorado on April 1st. I’m so excited to continue to be involved with the adaptive community and share the mission of Vertige Adaptive with these incredible athletes. While working on this project, I discovered something about myself. I learned I care about working for a brand or company that has a mission and a message I want to get behind more than I care about the actual day-to-day tasks I’m doing. If I feel passionate about the brand, I find an immense amount of joy and fulfillment working for them. This will be a huge consideration for me when it comes to my future career and I’m grateful I learned that about myself.