In light of Kylie Jenner’s recent photoshoot in which she poses whilst sitting in a wheelchair, on behalf of The British Polio Fellowship I’d like to appeal to designers, photographers and decision makers within the industry to recognise the serious side to accessibility issues in fashion.
The fashion industry has an unfavourable track record for discriminating against disabled models, and the visibility of disabled people throughout the industry has been little to none; using an ‘able bodied’ model to pose in a wheelchair is adding insult to injury. Earlier this year we spoke out about London Fashion Week not hiring any disabled models, and British Polio Fellowship Ambassador Ann Wafula-Strike MBE has spearheaded campaigns for greater inclusion and visibility of disabled people and wheelchair users in the fashion industry.
Our most recent fashion campaign featured a special collection by designer Aleah Leigh, and included a mix of pieces suitable for people of varying mobility. It was part of our greater aim to tackle the stigmas of disability, demonstrating that being in a wheelchair doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for you in glamourous industries such as fashion.
If being in a wheelchair is glamourous enough for Kylie Jenner, then let’s take the opportunity to start including genuine wheelchair users in high fashion campaigns and magazine shoots such as this one.