Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Why That Accessible ASOS Jumpsuit Is So Important

Very recently I wrote a post for Scope about accessible fashion and how highsteet and online stores mostly feature models and mannequins stood up, despite most of us sitting down at some point during our day. As a wheelchair user it's frustrating as clothes can look really different when you're sat down. The fit is different, clothes hang differently and suddenly every skirt and dress becomes so short that one tiny gust of wind would have you flashing the whole street. Now, not knowing what clothes will look like sat down is one thing, but never seeing yourself represented is another issue. We see diversity campaigns from brands all the time and as I've said time and time again, disabled people so often seemed to be missed off. We might be a minority, but we're a pretty big minority so, what's your excuse?

Source: ASOS

ASOS are known to be good for their diversity and at the beginning of the year we saw the start of them including disabled people within that. Mama Cāx, an amputee, model and blogger, was included in an activewear campaign alongside a host of other beautifully diverse people. I've followed her on Instagram for a while so to see her pop up in the ad was incredible, she might not have the same disability as me but I felt represented, I felt heard. 

So, when I came across a tweet today that showed a wheelchair user modelling on the ASOS website, well, I lost my shit a little bit. And then I read further and saw that the jumpsuit the models were wearing had been designed with wheelchair users in mind, cue me losing my shit again. Why? Because representation matters, it matters so much. I never thought I'd see the day that ASOS would be selling accessible clothing. For so long accessible clothing has been ugly, ridiculously expensive (okay, so the ASOS jumpsuit isn't cheap either, but at least it's cute) and generally unappealing. Using a model who is a wheelchair user is one thing, but actually designing something with disabled people in mind is a whole other amazing and important step. It's not the extra step either, it's the equal step. 

Source: ASOS

For a while now, across all disability related issues, progress has felt slow, too slow. People tell me all the time that things are changing and yes that's true, but they aren't changing fast enough. So, something like this is so encouraging. It's a start. It's a statement. Sure, this one wheelchair user doesn't represent all disabled people by a long shot but I'm certain this is only the beginning. I'd be surprised if we didn't see more disabled people, more diverse disabled people, popping up in ASOS ad's and on the website soon. For me this is them saying, we are listening and we are trying, and that's a lot more than what other companies are doing.

People say to me all the time that disabled people are the minority so you can't market anything to them. Well, I say to those people, look at the reaction to this on social media. Read the tweets of disabled people, listen to how much this means to us. I'm already close to popping the jumpsuit into my basket, and I don't even have anywhere to wear it. Make it and we will buy it. 

And now I ask to all the other big brands out there, if ASOS can do it, why can't you?

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2 comments

  1. That's such a good point about showing models sitting because most of us sit down most of the time! I love that not only has a disabled model been used, but involved in the design process to make sure there are no uncomfortable zips, buckles or straps, just cute and comfy fashion. I hope this is one step of many that ASOS take!

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    Replies
    1. Uncomfortable seams are one of the biggest problems I face so I'll be interested to test this out to see if they've solved that! I think I'll need to buy it for research purposes haha! I hope so too!

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