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The fashion industry no more operates on a singular vision of beauty. No matter, if you are not extremely thin, tall and fair, you are still beautiful. But, what is the beauty barrier hidden by its very obviousness—ableism. Not anymore, the fashion industry is becoming more diverse in terms of size and race including people with disabilities.
Fashion is breaking its narrow prerequisites with campaigns including Michael Shamash, a former Chairman of the Restricted Growth Association, a Raw Beauty Project NYC, which celebrates women with disabilities and Paralympian Stef Reid and Kelly Know, a London model who was born without her left forearm.
Earlier, most people with disability were not-represented by advertisements, magazines or television programs. But, with the constant pressure on fashion industry to become more diverse in various terms, many campaigners have come forward to bring in the style and elegance among people with disability. For instance, designer Carrie Hammer selecting role models including Danielle Sheypuk, a wheelchair-user, modeled her designs at February’s New York Fashion Week. They say, disability is by attitudes in fashion industry and not by missing any part of the body.
The truth is it can be quite difficult for people with disabilities to find clothing that is both accessible and fashionable. For most designers, their focus is just on function not style. Being disabled doesn’t limit person’s desire for being beautiful and fashionable.
Pattern-making books for people with disabilities
There are pattern-making books specifically geared to adjusting patterns to make garments to meet the needs of people who use wheelchairs. Disabilities have encouraged fashion designers to jazz up accessible clothing, to make it more stylish. Moreover, the fashion industry is also addressing an aging Baby Boomer population that is accustomed to being trendy and stylish.
Attention paid to those with sensory issues
Karen Karuza, a Fashion Designer Instructor at The Art Institute of Philadelphia adds that people with heightened sensitivity, such as people with autism, need more attention. Because, they are highly sensitive towards labels, tags and seam finishes besides clothing. More attention is being paid with growing fiber and textile technology to those with sensory issues.
Recently, British retailer Debenhams had an ad campaign featuring Shannon Murray, a wheelchair user, and in 2008 the TV network BBC aired a reality show called Britain’s Missing Top Model, which followed eight young women with disability while they competed for a modeling contract.
With the advancements in Fashion Industry, there has been a positive and innovative impact on the society related to people with disabilities. Fashion is thinking forward and giving expression to its representatives. One should be proud of the way he or she looks and should never feel that he or she is not beautiful enough, skinny enough or perfect enough. Perfection doesn’t really exist. Embrace your individuality and feel comfortable in your skin. No need to conform to the ideals and stereotypes that fashion sets for you.
I have given you so many examples of so many models with a disability and campaigns. To seek answers to questions which might be coming into your mind, go through this Lifecell blog– “Disability, Beauty and you”, it answers all the points coming into your mind after reading this article.