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Ireland / Alannah @ireland
, 22 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Okay so, when I'm shopping there are a few do's and donts when it comes to how I choose my stuff (and it'll explain why I hate winter fashion despite it definitely being the nicest season for clothes)
I tend to prefer short sleeves. I definitely do have some long sleeve things but often I just find them a hindrance. The sleeves normally get dirty on my wheels and often rolling them up is uncomfortable and the outfit just doesn't look the same
I have to avoid stuff like jumpsuits even though a true power move is arriving to anything in a jumpsuit. They're just designed for standing up people, and it becomes a sea of fabric: I look like a big blob because of how they sit on me (which is v sad)
Long things. Dresses, skirts, jackets. I have to tuck them awkwardly, then run over on the wheels, just a nightmare. So basically, most warm things without some kinda alterings are off limits. I'm sure I could make it work but I'm always aware of them being altered someway.
I normally avoid things with zips as well. I'm a mix of a few different proportions and zips just dont work with my body most of the time (unless there's a 3 person SEAL team to suck me in, hold the dress/top and pull the zip)
A lot of my wardrobe is short sleeves, crop tops, tshirts and jeans (theyre a compromise cause they dont fit me right either). Honestly I don't have enough money to get custom fit clothes. Most disabled people dont.
A lot of adaptive clothes aren't exactly the most fashion forward things in the world; when you google "adaptive fashion" the style isn't exactly Vogue. As a young fashion conscious person, it's important for me to be able to reflect my personality through what I wear
Same goes for lingerie (remember our chat about disability and sex the other day?). It's uncomfortable having to get my ma to do the hooks on a bodysuit I'm wearing. Most of the time I wear them out with jeans anyway because if I wanna get a chest cold that's my choice
I don't want to rely on other people to be fashionable. There are ways around these things. For bras etc? Front clasping. Those who wear bras of any ability would appreciate this anyway; nobody enjoys fiddling with the clasps behind their backs.
Magnetic closure vs buttons & zips. Again, better for everyone both disabled and able bodied alike.
Lines like Tommy Adaptive by Tommy Hilfiger have started tapping the adaptive market (albeit the price is still unattainable) becaus inclusivity from a purely business perspective is smart marketing.
Obviously I don't like commodifying disability and that's not what I'm trying to do at all. But in Britain alone (well, what's left of it) in 2017, the "purple pound" was worth 80 BILLION. Imagine losing out on that amount of money because of fixable issues?… (this is where I got that figure by the way)
Again, highlighting the issue is how we'll change it. I contacted modelling agencies & brands when I was writing my thesis on the lack of inclusion regarding disability in the fashion industry. Do you know how many people got back to me? None.
Nobody would talk about it. Nobody would talk about how you very rarely see disabled models on the books or in campaigns unless its good timing (*cough* around the Paralympic Games *cough*)
I adore fashion. I live and breathe it and it is a massive part of my personality, my self expression and who I am. But I can't keep banging on the door waiting for them to let me in if they have the doors deadbolted
There are of course fashion trailblazers who are making a difference and I'm not saying fashion is completely unchanging in its ways. What I'm saying is, it's too slow. There have been too many "disability; fashions final frontier?" articles without much change in the industry
That being said, things seem to have snowballed in the past year or so when it comes to disability and fashion, or maybe I'm just in the right circles now where I wasn't before.
This is a really great article on disabled models written by Keah Brown (the same Keah Brown who started #DisabledAndCute) for Teen Vogue. I would have loved an editorial like this growing up because it's so visually STUNNING……

Aaron Philip is the girl who literally tweeted her career into existence. I followed her a few months before she was signed when she was tweeting things like "When I get signed its over for you" and she just kept going. Now she's with Elite NYC.
Disability is one of the most commonly overlooked group in fashion. It's never included in Diversity reports because there's never anything TO report. Disability still hasn't made it to runways. It is just starting to emerge in modelling and retail.
But we still need to figure out how to design for it on a broader scale, making it accessible to ALL.

So, what would you suggest we do?
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