TIKOTA INCLUSIVE: Unique Collection for Wheelchair Users

Kate Tikota and her eight-month-old son Zahar greet me on a weekday in the studio — a large cosy attic in the city centre, where customers can try on TIKOTA UNIQUE clothes. The team takes part in the Biz4all-2 programme with one of the brand branches, TIKOTA INCLUSIVE. Kate, who created the brand, tells us over a cup of fragrant herbal tea how selling stylish designer clothes can have a social focus.

Biz4all-2 training is part of the “Social Entrepreneurship Incubator” programme, organized by ODB Brussels (Belgium) in partnership with TNU Network University (Netherlands) with financial support from the European Union.


“Get a feel of” your favourite pursuit

Designing and making clothes has been Kate’s hobby for many years. In 2012, she started to take it more seriously when her hobby was turned into a sustainable development project on natural resource conservation. She created new clothes out of previously used items: altering, decorating, dyeing and restoring them with a number of techniques. For example, the designer would use six men’s shirts to make one dress. “This is a painstaking process which takes a lot of time, and not everybody appreciated the approach at the time. Now, the society has taken a bit more liking to it, but it used to be very challenging to work this way. I plan to come back to this in future”.

A year after the project started, Kate got an invitation to Belarus Fashion Week, where she presented a collection out of innovative materials. Since then, TIKOTA UNIQUE brand has regularly taken part in fashion shows, exhibitions and fairs both in Belarus and abroad. The girl shares that she sees value in not only doing the thing she loves but also in being useful to others. She jokes that in the beginning she had to get a feel of that very thing she loves doing.


Joy for yourself and benefits to others

Collection TIKOTA MAMA

Photo by: Mikita Bezrukau

Today TIKOTA UNIQUE has a special line of beautiful clothes for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers TIKOTA MAMA, a line of comfortable clothes for disabled people TIKOTA INCLUSIVE, and a line of Belarusian-languages T-shirts and hoodies NA MOVE. All three lines were created last year, and the debut shows for MAMA and INCLUSIVE happened just two weeks one after the other. "The TIKOTA MAMA show was organized in the Galleria Minsk mall. It was a beautiful, emotional and energy charged event, since we had twenty pregnant women walking the runway, including the designer". The wheelchair show was supported by the company tickets.by and Minsk National Airport. With her latest project, Kate also took part in the SocialWeekend competition of social projects, where she received both the Grand Prix Award and the Audience Choice Award, which had never happened in the history of the event.

The idea of making clothes for wheelchair users came to Kate from without. “During one of the events organized by the UNAIDS, I was approached by Sasha Avdevich, who is a wheelchair user. He drew attention to the fact that he has trouble choosing clothes”. She gathered information and feedback from people who use a wheelchair, organized meetings and analysed data. At the moment, she has a focus group of ten people, who test five models of pants and notes their advantages and drawbacks. “We have come up with 18 characteristics of pants for wheelchair users in comparison with clothes for regular healthy people. I do not want to reveal all our secrets, but the key points are: a higher waist, a longer pant leg, a specific over all fit and a specific pocket layout”.

Wheelchair user runway show TIKOTA INCLUSIVE in Minsk National Airport

Photo from: the official website

TIKOTA MAMA line began when Kate got pregnant and understood that in Belarus it was quite difficult to select clothes for this beautiful time in a woman’s life. She realized that she needed to create such clothes herself. “I love multifunctional clothes, with some additional secret features. For example, you can wear all dresses from this line even afterwards. Clothes for pregnant ladies should be beautiful and feminine, with soft, nice materials, but often things you can buy off the rack are shapeless and baggy. In the child-bearing period, a woman is growing a cosmos inside her and carries a specific energy. That is why clothes should have joy and beauty in them, so that it was easy for the pregnant woman to maintain her internal state of harmony and calm”.

TIKOTA UNIQUE clothes from the NA MOVE collection

Photo by: Mikita Bezrukau


TIKOTA UNIQUE clothes from the NA MOVE collection

Photo: official Facebook page

Unique mentorship opportunity

Kate got interested in the Biz4all-2 programme primarily because each team had a mentor. “Often, when you go into a new business, you have many questions and fears, but the programme structure and the mentorship support gives you confidence. Also, you get acquainted with new and interesting people, who care about social aspects that sometimes get overlooked in the daily life. I like working with people who are enthusiastic about what they are doing”.

Kate Tikota and Zahar presenting TIKOTA INCLUSIVE at one of the Biz4all-2 trainings in Minsk

Photo by: Vitaly Brazousky

The team of TIKOTA INCLUSIVE, which currently includes three people, is mentored by Masha Charakova, social entrepreneur from the Netherlands. At the moment, the the team and the mentor are looking into possible social approaches to the business, with several options in the work. According to Kate, they are most likely to provide disabled people with discounts on clothes by selling accessories to socially conscious groups of people. 


The goal of the programme is to develop a package of social entrepreneurship training programmes in Russian using innovative international practices, as well as the experience of Belarusian diaspora representatives who have become successful entrepreneurs in European Union countries and the USA.

The material was prepared within the framework of the "Social Entrepreneurship Incubator", implemented by ODB Brussels in partnership with TNU Network University (Netherlands), Belarusian Youth Public Union "New Faces" and International Civil Association "Union of Belarusian of the world “Motherland", with support from the European Union.