I often undertake talks on various aspects of life as a wheelchair user. One of these talks was to a group of students at the University of Arts in London who were studying fashion. I was invited by one of the students (Saskia Rowlands) that wanted to explore further making fashion more inclusive to everybody.
The tutor and the students were surprised to learn that 20% of the population has a disability and that there is a large market that is not being catered for by fashion designers and retailers. Sam shared ideas on how clothes could be designed in an inclusive way so that fashion can be accessed by people with a range of impairments.
We discussed ideas to how clothes could be designed for wheelchair users, amputees and the visually impaired. For example, wheelchair users do not need back pockets on jeans and trousers need to be designed for people who are in seated position. Tactile labels could be used to inform people with visual impairments of the colour and patterns of clothes.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to share some thoughts and ideas with a group of young designers and hope that they will embrace some of the thinking into their work.