Turn the loss into a legacy: the local mother creates an adaptive clothing line in honor of the son
INDIANAPOLIS – Joyce Fields has always had a passion for fashion.
“I didn’t know what kind of clothes I wanted to make,” she said. “But I know that I wanted it to be something completely different and unique.”
Fields went to school for fashion and fabric design. She attended the Cleveland Institute of Art and Texas Tech University.
Although she always had a unique eye, she never knew that her son would ultimately be her muse.
In 1990 Fields gave birth to twins Taurean and Tilas Taylor. Tilas was born two months premature and lived with a variety of complications, including cerebral palsy.
Constantly connected to devices like feeding tubes, tubes, pacemakers, and shunts, Fields says basic tasks became exhausting. One of the most difficult was getting dressed, which led Fields to get creative with finding clothes that would fit over his devices and house his limbs.
“Because he had cerebral palsy, his legs were like frogs that just bounced back and forth,” she said. “And you had trouble getting his clothes on, whether it was pants or a shirt.”
She added, “With his arms, the cerebral palsy had his joints so tight. So basically you had to oversize everything to put it on because he couldn’t straighten his arms. “
“It was just tough for me,” she continued. “I mean really, really, really hard because no one could understand what it was like to put him on in everyday life, keep up with his medication, just do something that wasn’t normal for me.”
Tilas died in 2008. He was 18 years old.
After his death, Fields continued Chea Clothing, LLC. It was an idea that she originally struggled with trying to turn it into a reality.
“I didn’t feel like it was helping him because he wasn’t here anymore,” she said.
However, it was the promise she had made to honor Tilas and his keepsake that kept her dream alive.
The modified and adaptable clothing line stands for “Creative, Heavenly, Extraordinaire, Attire” and also represents Tilas’ middle name, which was “Chea”.
“I wanted it to be something that represented God,” Fields said. “Something that gave its name something very unique and different, but still had a spiritual effect.”
Chea Clothing offers a variety of pieces tailored for the person who is wearing them. Designed for people with special needs, every part is designed to adapt to any device or diagnosis made by the customer.
“It gives me this sense of dignity without looking like something is wrong,” Fields said. “And it gives them that normal feeling and the ability to adapt to everything out there, regardless of what they’re going through.”
Fields helped create bibs, onesies, shirts, weight vests, and other items of clothing. While she offers a variety in her collection, she also accepts special requests if necessary.
Fields is currently helping a cousin in Fort Wayne who was diagnosed with late-stage cancer.
“I came up with a shirt that helps manage his tubes,” she said, “it has a colostomy pouch, it has a feeding tube, it has a center line. So by working with my son, I can now help someone. “
Although the loss is still painful, Fields continues the journey to meet other families and people in need of their help.
“These are my tilases now,” she said. “And help and do [things] for her, even if it’s not him, but it serves the same purpose as for him. “
“It makes me feel like he’s here,” she added. “I know I’ll share it with someone else and leave a piece of it out the door where other people can say that’s Chea.”
Fields plans to expand her reach in the future, and says she is working on a variety of projects and collaborations that span from Atlanta, Georgia to Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
“We have so much more in store for people when it comes to how things look and wear,” Fields suggested.
Fields plans to launch a new line of clothing soon and eventually hopes to have its own store in the future.
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