Bringing fashion forward

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16th November 2016
Selection of retail stores at shopping centre

Clothes have always been a form of self-expression, but what if you needed them to be fashionable with a higher level of functionality? With the lack of choice for disabled consumers becoming increasingly prominent, it got us thinking, are clothing retailers putting themselves at a loss by not opening up to a more versatile view of fashion? Here, our wonderful guest blogger Shirley gives us her take on things…

I happen to love clothes and I always pay attention to what our Royals are wearing. I must say that my idea of fashion has somewhat changed since I’ve been a wheelchair user. Many of the shoes and clothes that I had brought previously were no longer suitable for me and so they were recycled at charity shops, although I have kept some important keepsakes including handmade garments from my late mother and grandmother. I used to make my own clothes too and have a good idea of the craftsmanship that goes into creating good quality items.

When I’m working as a Music Teacher, I think it is always important to dress up and look nice for my occupation. I tend to go for dark bottoms, contrasted with bright, colourful tops and some comfortable maxi dresses in the months when the weather is nicer. I love all colours, from vibrant royal blues, to rich reds and gorgeous greens – there are so many to choose from.

Personally, I find the online shopping experience most pleasant as it can be done from within the comfort of your own home. If I were to go out to shop, I find stores like John Lewis, M&S, Debenhams and Westfield to be most accommodating, both in terms of the choice of the garments on offer and their wide spacious layout throughout the store.

On the whole, I think society is becoming more aware of what it means to have a disability and the practicalities that make day to day life easier, although I most certainly feel that there is a market for the creation of clothes and shoes that accommodate the needs of disabled people. That isn’t to say that they need to be entirely different to those being offered to non-disabled consumers, but that a little extra consideration and adjustment could go a really long way and that it has the potential to make a world of difference. After all, who doesn’t love to get dressed up?

Stephanie Stone

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