Five years ago, when accountant graduate Kym Clark started work at the Foxleigh coal mine at Middlemount, she was one of just a few women among hundreds of blokes.
She understood the standard bright orange safety workwear was part and parcel of the job.
But over the years, Kym began noticing the standard issue safety workwear, was not always appropriate and certainly not in the least bit flattering for women joining the mine’s workforce.
So she decided to do something about it.
She spoke to women in different workplaces seeking their opinions on how their uniforms could be improved, what worked and what didn’t, and what they did and didn’t like.
Then she combined her loves of mining, accountancy and fashion, to launch her new business “She’s Empowered”; designing a range of women’s mining workwear in softer fabrics and more flattering designs.
Kym said her research showed there were eight different female body shapes, so tailored her designs in different styles to accommodate all shapes and sizes, while still maintaining the necessary high visibility, safety and protective properties of the clothing options.
Her innovative designs also include maternity workwear, so instead of pregnant female employees having to wear a men’s shirt left unbuttoned over a singlet, they could wear a properly buttoned uniform for the term of their pregnancy.
“It’s about making women feel comfortable at work and confident in a uniform that fits them,” she says.
“It’s helping the women feel like they actually belong on site, by giving them a uniform that was designed by a woman, for women.”