Choosing jeans as a wheelchair user is often not straightforward. Traditional jeans are not designed for people who are seated so there are some things for designers to think about and things for wheelchair users to consider when selecting the most suitable pair of jeans.
There is a common misconception amongst the general public that the fashion industry is full of stereotypes, social stigmas, and ostracism. Now, while it could certainly improve on all of those, fashion is definitely much better than it is made out to be. In fact, it can actually have a hugely positive impact on society, as the universal love of beautiful clothing, applying makeup and styling hair can bring people together.
This is especially the case for minority groups, and as a woman in a wheelchair myself, I know how included fashion can make you feel. Life can often be difficult for disabled people; some people simply don’t know how to approach someone in a wheelchair, and that can become quite challenging. So, the fact that fashion gives everyone, regardless of disability, ethnicity or gender, the chance to feel valued, is amazing.
Although, some people will still disagree and wonder how exactly fashion creates such inclusion. Well, that’s why I’ve put together a short list, to show that fashion is more than just a focus on appearance!
Boost Self – Love and Confidence
One of the most obvious ways that it helps is through the enhancement of self-love, and the increase in confidence. If you’re happy with what you see in the mirror, then you’re going to feel great about yourself. Once you acquire that sense of self-love, you won’t fear to talk to new people anymore, and that’s when you’ll realise that ninety-nine percent of people are open to getting to know you.
Gives You a Reason to Socialise
If you love dressing up, getting your make up on, or styling your hair, then it just gives you that extra motivation to go out and showcase all of that. Therefore, if you keep socialising, and getting out the house, you’ll feel included more and more, and won’t feel like you’re isolated at home.
The fact that you can express your personality through the style of clothing that you choose, or the appearance that you go for, is very empowering. It highlights that every human-being is different, and that’s why the world is such a special place. The moment you feel so included, is when you recognise that everyone is in the same position, and we’re all just trying to display originality through our fashion choices.
Feel Comfortable with What You’re Wearing
Fashion is one of those things that truly gives you the opportunity to feel comfortable in your clothes, no matter who you are. Typically, being in a wheelchair is a struggle when it comes to comfortable clothing. For instance, jeans often limit mobility and hurt due to the hard materials. So, being able to find fashionable clothes that fit well, and allow you to feel comfortable, is a real empowerment.
Creates Healthy Discussions
One of the ways that people don’t see fashion as positive, is the way that it always creates discussions. No matter who you are, you could easily chat to someone about the latest fashion trend, or the newest piece of clothing that is dividing opinion. You see, that’s a great thing, as it means no-one is excluded from conversations, as we can all have our opinion on fashion.
I hope you’ve found this article useful, and it would be great to know. Please leave a comment below!
In a world where everyone is running after perfection, it becomes difficult for many people to have a scar on their body. With high demands for perfection in women these days, having scars can lead to an inferiority complex in them, making them feel worthless and want to hide their scars. They start avoiding the crowd and feel insecure in public. They lose all sources of empowerment. A person’s physical health can very strongly affect his/her mental health is something the society needs to understand. It can affect their everyday working and routine and can be strong enough to destroy their relationships.
Behind the scars is a project on which Sophie Mayanne started working in April this year. It started as an editorial for Petrie Inventory in August 2016. Even as a child, Sophie was always fascinated by what made us all different from each other, and she started getting interested in peoples scars. She believed them all to be different, a part of peoples identity and a mark that differentiates them from all others. Sophie took this project as a platform to share her view of “more natural, more real.”
Her work has gained a lot of appreciation and acceptance from people around the world. It has given many people the courage to show their scars for the first time in public and to accept them. Many people now contact her to be photographed and be a part of the project.
One should have no shame in themselves. Scars are a part of our body, they define us, our past and tell our story. Our scars should be the celebration of our lives to understand that we went through something and made it through alive. They tell the world about our fight and our struggles, about the storms we have faced in our life, what our history tells us and how we succeeded. It shows how we didn’t give up in a stressful condition. It shows that we are happy and we should be happy and at peace with our own body.
Sharing our scars with others helps others realise that it’s not something uncommon. It’s a part of being human. It gives them courage. It might help them help themselves. As, many people undergo mastectomy for breast cancer, after which many of them take years to get along with their routine life. While they should understand that their scars show their fight, it shows their success. They should be proud of it. We should stop criticising other people on their physical appearance, help them face it and shouldn’t make them feel alienated. We should come out of that falsely created sense of perfection, created by the fashion industry, film industries, and social media and accept the realities of people around us.
We can accept others and their difference only after we have accepted our differences and appearances. And as women, for others to accept us and respect us as we are, we need to respect ourselves first, which includes our scars. We need to take pride in them because, like many other things, they define us and serves as a marker of who we are.
Take a look at my youtube channel with all the making of my pictures as part of this project.
For models with disabilities, a fashion week with the name of ‘Runaway of Dreams’ is held. This fashion week was established in 2014 by a designer, Mindy Shayer and it gave different disabled models a platform to turn their dreams into reality. For Mindy, the main purpose of Runaway of Dreams was to make clothes for people with different disabilities. She herself, has a son who was born with a disability and that was her inspiration to make something for people who cant dress themselves. The clothes that are displayed during this fashion week are purely made for people with disabilities so that they don’t require a lot of help dressing up. Many different models collaborate with Runaway of Dreams and promote this cause.
One of the main reasons for growing awareness of diverse models is the fashion designers. Many different fashion designers and famous brands have taken strong action in promoting models with disabilities by giving them a platform. Some of these designers include the world-renowned fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. Tommy Hilfiger is best known for his brand ‘Tommy Hilfiger Corporation’. Mr. Hilfiger has designed clothes for men and women with disabilities. He collaborated with Runaway of Dreams to design and promote clothes for adults with disabilities.
Every person who is passionate modeling, dreams of walking on the catwalk for some popular designer. Why should people with disabilities not get a chance? British Vogue gave a platform to disabled models to showcase themselves and feel as glamorous as any other model. Designers, Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones, collaboratively known as Teatum Jones, were ones of the pioneers who showcased the work at London Fashion Week and for this, they choose disabled models. They promoted models with different disabilities and gave them a highly professional platform to show their work.
It’s not just fashion designers that are promoting disabled models, but fashion stores such as ASOS have also used disabled models to promote their brands. ASOS has joined BDF (Business Disability Forum) which make clothes for Paralympic athletes. By partnering with them, they’re not only making clothes for disabled people but have participated in creating awareness among people that there are more than 6.9 million disabled people in the United Kingdom. Their promotion of this cause has also led them to make it easier for disabled people to shop online. They have used numerous disabled models to walk on the ramp.
Many disabled models have been given an opportunity to be in the runaway with confidence and pride. American horror story actress, Jamie Brewer, is the first model with Down’s syndrome to walk on the ramp in London based models of diversity fashion week. Other than that, British personal trainer, Jack Eyers, became the first male amputee model to walk on the catwalk. Jack Eyers was picked by celebrity fashion designer, Antonio Urzi, who is known to design clothes for Beyonce and Lady Gaga.
Many people and designers have expanded their horizons and thought out of the box to make fashion look more glamorous and nothing is more glamorous than beauty displayed in every shape and size. Due to the awareness caused by these designers, people are now becoming more and more concerned with expanding the definition of fashion and the way people think. Fashion is not about the beauty anymore, it is so much more and that itself is beautiful.