Fashion And Disability.

Three weekends ago i attended my first ever fashion show. I was quite anxious to say the very least. I had no idea what to wear or what to expect. For a week or so leading up to the night, i was so anxious about what to wear, nothing in my closest i thought was good enough. I went through several outfits none of them seemed “good enough” after all it was a dress to kill event with a “best dressed prize.” I of course had to step up my game on a major. My usual jeans, t-shirt and high tops was certainly not going to cut it. I actually had to make an effort.

I went dress shopping three days before the fashion show and i couldn’t find anything i liked. I went back home disappointed that it was an afternoon wasted but good thing is that i actually saved money and did not end up buying something i did not need nor had budgeted for. I went to my closest, took out a dress tried it on and decided that was the dress i would wear.

Ok outfit was done and dusted now i was stressing about my hair. What was i going to do to my hair? I thought if i wake up early on saturday morning and go to the hairdressers to get my hair done then i would look on point. Thankfully i woke up so exhausted that morning, i ended up not going. At this point i learnt a major life lesson. Don’t spend too much time stressing about your appearance to impress people who won’t even notice you. It is true though, i was going to spend all this money on an outfit to try and “fit” with the ladies in their 6 inch heels and red carpet outfits and probably none of them would have noticed. Thank God i came to my senses before i made a fool of myself.

Outfit of the night
Outfit of the night

Now that the outfit was out of the way, i began to stress about the venue. I kept wondering what kind of a venue it was. Would i get a good seat, would i even get a seat to begin with? On the night my friend and i arrived half an hour early and managed to score good seats. In fact we were the first seated, she sat in the front as she had front row seats whilst i sat behind her in the second row. I must say i had a good view and the chairs were very comfortable. The toilet wasn’t difficult to get to either and it was so clean!!!! Aah could the night get any better.

The fashion show was very well put together. I enjoyed seeing all the designers showcasing. One question i had halfway through the show was “i wonder what people would think if a person like me walked down the runway?”

Off late i have been interested in how the fashion world views people with disabilities in relation to them showcasing or wearing their garments. What would the world say if a visually impaired woman walked down the runway with her cane in a couture outfit? Would the focus be on her impairment or the designer outfit? I do know earlier in the year some models with disabilities graced the runway at New York Fashion Show. I particularly loved one image of two women wearing the same outfit walking the runway one on a wheelchair and the other not. What a powerful message that image sends to the world that people with disabilities do buy clothes too and we often struggle to find clothes that fit because they are not designed for us at all. I once wrote about the frustrations of this here.

Writing about this just reminded me of an incident that happened 4 years ago. I walked into a boutique with my Mum and sister. I am not into the whole shopping thing like most women, i was simply accompanying my mum and sister. Whenever i walk into a boutique it takes me just one scan of the store to determine whether they would be anything i like or not and in this case there wasn’t much that caught my attention so i went and sat down whilst i watched my mum and sister shop. At some point the store owner says to my mother “it’s so good to see your daughter dress so well considering her condition.” (Please note i wasn’t wearing anything fancy, just a simple maxi dress. I wasn’t ready for that comment. I was truly caught off guard and did not respond. She is lucky i was still naive at the time had it been 2015, i would have given her a piece of my mind. I did vent about it later that night on Facebook.

Anyway going back to my question“i wonder what people would think if a person like me walked down the runway?” I may never know the answer to this question but i sincerely hope in this lifetime that designers would also design and make clothes for people with disabilities. This would definitely make my shopping experience much easier.




26 thoughts on “Fashion And Disability.”

  1. I had never ever in a million years ever considered this. This was a thought provoking piece…You are right, designers do not design and make clothes for people with disabilities. Hopefully, they will start doing so someday soon.
    Amazing the things we take for granted. I just buy clothes but I have never considered the trouble someone with disability might have finding the perfect outfit.
    Thank you for sharing this Colleen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! On Sunday i was so frustrated because it was cold and i could not wear my boots as they have become uncomfortable. Shoe shopping is the worst experience ever. I guess that’s why i don’t like shopping in general cause finding something that actually fits is a mission. It can fit size wise but be too big on on the length. I won’t lie, it is tough but soldier on we must!


      1. This was a good piece Colleen. I am in the same boat with you when it comes to shoe shopping – especially shopping for formal shoes. I have an unsteady gait so the best shoes for me are those with rubber soles for grip. But you can hardly find them anywhere in local stores. I usually end up buying a new pair of shoes each time I travel abroad because that’s only where you can find them

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You walking down the runway would be a great goal to accomplish. Of course, the excuse “you’re too short” might fly our of someone’s mouth. You know people have excuses for everything when they fear challenges and differences.
    I say go for it! Spread your wings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At this rate I might to start my own fashion label that carters for people with disabilities but sadly I have no interest in that. I guess I will have to challenge my fashion designer friends to design clothes fit for us


  3. Great piece! I have chronic plantar fasciitis and l wear sneakers 90% of the time and its such a challenge putting an outfit together. People tend to be so judgy when they see me in my good ol’ sneakers and question my fashion sense, alas, we must soldier on.

    You looked stunning!

    Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing Colleen what is a very good focus and you made a very good point too, yes we too wear clothes and like to look nice even though we are disabled.

    I can walk without a walking stick for short distances but cannot wear high heels, so I’m not in fashion but I always try to coordinate and wear what colors suit me, I don’t spend a lot on clothes and I buy secondhand clothes too as well as new ones.

    You have a lovely smile Colleen so regardless of what you wear you would be noticeable but how good that you have the opportunity to walk tall in a fashion show.

    Blessings – Anne.


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