Fashion is the art of expressing your personality
Fashion is the art of expressing your personality through your clothes, to the extent that, frequently, “you are what you wear”. Our clothes express who we are and how we feel and, through shapes and colour combinations, complete our person.
Unfortunately, fashion is not for everyone, for various reasons, whether financial or how the model is made. It is a world full of physical barriers for disabled people and wheelchair users.
Making fashion accessible to everyone
Making fashion accessible to everyone is a subject close to my heart and I discuss it frequently on my social media accounts, in order to obtain as many opinions as possible.
I am a fashion addict and I like looking after my appearance, but I have measurements that do not correspond with my age for the clothing sector. I am 1.15 metres tall, the average height of a child at primary school, but I also have a C-cup and one month ago I blew out 36 candles.
I certainly cannot buy my clothes in the “Children’s” department of a shop, mainly because they would not fit, but also because they would not suit my image.
We all know how it really works in today’s world, even though we continue to say and hear that our clothes are only the outer wrapping. The truth is that what we wear defines us in today’s consumer society, if we do not want to be stared at and judged for this as well, in addition to our physical shape or positions.
Accessible clothing is often a barrier because of the way it is made. Clothing is not accessible, for instance, in the closures for people who have problems moving their arms, or in the length for small people, or in the choice of comfortable fabrics for someone who is always sitting in the same position.
When I enter a shop, I want to find clothes on which the measurements can be altered without paying four times, I want fits that enhance my person, I want attention to be focused on everyone’s tastes and I would appreciate not always having to make do, because I am not considered to be a consumer whose needs are worth satisfying.
There is also another problem with accessible clothing or “easy dressing”: the changing rooms are not designed for all sizes. When I need to try something on, I become a contortionist with my wheelchair, with the sales assistants doing what they can to create a makeshift changing room.
It is an issue that needs to be faced and resolved, as it is as important as a “normal” architectural barrier.
A little while ago, in my home town, I wanted to buy lingerie. I entered the shop and I asked to try it on: I had to get up three steps to get to the changing room and it was suggested that I should try the shop across the road. The worst part was that the checkout desk was also inaccessible, due to more steps. Making someone who is capable of looking after themselves dependent on someone else undermines their independence.
Fashion should be accessible to everyone and there should be professionals capable of using their manufacturing skills to create products that really are accessible to all.