Tag Archives: Fashion

Why the fashion industry needs to include disabled people

Meghan is studying fashion at the University of South Wales. For her end of year show she designed a sportswear line which is specifically adapted for different impairments. In this blog she talks about the reasons behind it and her hopes for the future.

At school I was good at Product Design and Art, so I knew I wanted to go into a form of design. I wouldn’t really say I was a big fashion person in the typical sense which is why I wanted to do sportswear – it’s design for a purpose.

Discovering a gap in the market

I’m in my third year now and I have to do a final collection. I started looking into adapted clothing and I discovered a massive gap in the market. A lot of the people I spoke to said that the clothing that is out there is quite unfashionable or really expensive. There’s not enough choice for them in mainstream fashion.

I feel like the fashion industry does forget disabled people. When it comes to adaptive clothing, there are maternity sections in shops but disability is almost completely forgotten about. All the clothing is just t-shirts and trousers, there’s nothing stylish, which is what they want.

 

Molly posing on the catwalk

In some ways it sends a negative message to disabled people regarding sports and they might not feel confident enough taking part in sports or going to the gym, especially if they are wearing something they aren’t comfortable in themselves. But I think there has been a change in attitudes more recently because I have been seeing more representation, but I also don’t know if that’s because I’m involved in it, so I’m noticing it more.

Accessibility can be an issue too. The girl who I have as my visually impaired model, she’s got her own business helping websites and apps make their stuff more accessible for disabled people.

Kyron posing on the catwalk

Developing my sportswear line

After talking to various people, I decided to design pieces to suit four different impairments: visual impairments, dwarfism, amputees and down’s syndrome. I got in contact with a charity called “Follow your Dreams” which is for people with down’s syndrome and learning difficulties. I went to a few focus groups with them to meet people who have down’s syndrome and to get information about what they would want out of clothing and sportswear. I also spoke to Disability Sport Wales.

The Fashion Show

For the show, I had four outfits shown and I used the same models that I’ve worked with on my photo-shoots. I’ve got Tony, who is a world champion athlete, Kyron who is a Paralympian. Molly, who has ushers syndrome and runs her own company – Molly Watts Ltd – and finally, Emily who has down’s syndrome. The show was on 26 May and was a great success.

I really wanted to have all disabled models because otherwise it would completely take away the impact. I just hope that I raise more awareness from it and show people what’s possible.

If you have an experience you’d like to share, get in touch with the Stories team.

Photos by Michaela Harcegova.

“My guide dog isn’t a sat nav!”

Guest blog by Emily Davison, otherwise known as Fashioneyesta. Emily is a Scope for Change campaigner and stars in our new End the Awkward film made with UNILAD.

My name’s Emily Davison, otherwise known as Fashioneyesta. I’m a university graduate, writer, fashion and beauty blogger and YouTuber. I also happen to be visually impaired and work with a Guide Dog.

Every day I come across many misconceptions towards my disability and in turn I usually find myself in front of my camera or typing away at my laptop discussing these with my followers.

I was keen to take part in Scope’s End the Awkward campaign – to represent the sight loss community and to show that sight loss does not equate to ignorance, being un-fashionable or being stereotyped.

You can’t give my guide dog directions!

In my new film, you see me in an awkward situation around one of the most outlandish myths surrounding my guide dog – which is the common belief that people can give her directions instead of myself, and that she can follow them like a GPS system!

But, of course there are plenty more awkward moments where that one came from…

‘You’re well dressed for a blind person’

As a fashion blogger, comments I hear a lot are to do with my appearance. People will say ‘you don’t look blind!’ or ‘you’re very well dressed for a blind person.’

As if anyone with a visual impairment – simply because they lack sight – cannot have a conception of style, beauty or looking good, which is of course not true.

‘She’s blind and she’s wearing high heels!’

Another one I encounter on a regular basis is ‘Oh my god! She’s blind and she’s wearing high heels, how ridiculous!’ My answer to this is what does sight loss have to do with the clothes I wear? In what context do those two things relate?

I chose to take an interest in fashion because I enjoy the shopping process, I enjoy looking and feeling good and I happen to love wearing high-heeled shoes.

Awkward speed dating

Another time I went speed dating, and after talking to the person opposite me for a few minutes I got onto the subject of being visually impaired.

When I told him about my vision he sat back, blinked and said ‘Oh…Well what do you expect me do say to that?’ And the conversation came to an abrupt, very awkward end.

Young woman sitting on steps near a beach

‘But you don’t look blind…’

On the bus one day I sat on one of the priority seats – those usually reserved for disabled people, elderly people or those with child.

But my guide dog was out of view and therefore to some I could appear to be a ‘normal person’ – a term I use very loosely.

An elderly gentlemen boarded the bus and said to me ‘Can you move please! These seats are for disabled people.’

It just so happened that my stop was next and so instead of staring a brawl I got up to expose my little four-legged friend, in all her guide dog splendour (neon harness).

There was a deadly silence…..He then responded ‘Oh god! No sit back down… it’s…it’s just…you don’t look blind!’

We all make mistakes

Awkwardness is something I experience in my everyday life, we all do, but disability shouldn’t be something to feel awkward about.

If you have ever felt awkward around disabled people – maybe you said something wrong or made someone feel embarrassed – the thing to do is simply apologise.

We all make mistakes in life and as long as we move forward and learn from them, this is what truly matters.

Follow Fashioneyesta

If you would like to keep up to date with my work you can find me on my blog, Twitter and YouTube. And don’t forget to share your awkward stories too as part of End the Awkward.

“You’re very well dressed for a blind person” Fashioneyesta, the fashion blogger

30 under 30 logo

This story is part of 30 Under 30.

 

Emily Davison, also known as Fashioneyesta, is a Master’s Degree Student, Journalist, Writer, YouTuber and Blogger. She also happens to be visually impaired and works with a Guide Dog. Emily’s goal is to change perceptions of disability with her writing and love for making videos.

At 4pm today, Emily is doing a Facebook Live video Q and A. She’ll be talking and answering questions about fashion and beauty, writing, vlogging, attitudes and more. Here’s a little preview.

DSC_0126

As a fashion blogger, I get a lot of comments about my appearance

People will say “you’re very well dressed for a blind person.” As if anyone with a visual impairment – simply because they lack sight – cannot have a conception of style, beauty or looking good, which is of course not true.

Style is a form of expression and it depends on passion and imagination and not on your level of vision. As a visually impaired person I appreciate clothes from the fabrics and embroidery used, to the outline of the garment and how it makes me feel when I wear it. I interact with style based on a number of different senses.

There are many different visually impaired people, who appreciate clothes for their shape, quality and attention to detail. After all, fashion is a creative outlet and is not exclusive to one set of individuals.

 Young woman hugging her guide dog

Emily also starred in our awkward moments film introduced by Warwick Davis

Every day I come across many misconceptions towards my disability and in turn I usually find myself in front of my camera or typing away at my laptop discussing these with my followers.

I was keen to take part in Scope’s End the Awkward campaign – to represent the sight loss community and to show that sight loss does not equate to ignorance, being unfashionable or being stereotyped.

Emily would love to hear from you. Tune in to our Facebook page at 4pm with your questions at the ready!

Emily is part of our 30 Under 30 campaign. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Keep up to date with all of our new stories on our 30 under 30 page.

I’ve had many run ins with trolls and bullies – Harvey Price has scored a victory for now

Vicky Kuhn is a disability rights campaigner, journalist and blogger. In this guest blog she talks about Harvey Price’s recent TV appearance as a victory against cyber-bullies, her own experiences and why she’s supporting the campaign to tackle it.

This week Harvey, son of former glamour model Katie Price, spoke out on live television about the bullying he has endured online. Harvey is blind, autistic and has condition called Prader Willi Syndrome.

In his latest television appearance, it was easy to see just how vulnerable Harvey is. His Mum Katie insisted that he appear live, rather than in a pre-recorded segment, so that viewers could see just how hurt he has been by the attacks. When asked what he would say to someone being horrible to him, he blurted out “Hello you c**t”!

Despite the propriety of live television, support for Harvey has been immense, and he has received hundreds of tweets in support of what he said. This is a victory against Harvey’s bullies for now, but the internet is crawling with cyber-bullies and trolls who prey on anyone they see as an easy target. It is now expected that if you have any kind of online presence, you will have to deal with abuse from these sorts of people. I myself have had many run ins with trolls and bullies.

Wheeling the catwalk for ‘Catwalk of Diversity’

In April of 2015 I had the privilege of wheeling the catwalk with some amazing girls. Headed by Katie Piper, the ‘Catwalk of Diversity’ saw myself and my now very dear friends, strutting our stuff on the catwalk wearing some stunning fashion.

Vicky smiling and striking a pose in her wheelchair at the Catwalk of Diversity fashion show
Vicky striking a pose at Catwalk of Diversity

The twist on this particular event, hosted at the Ideal Home Show in front of huge crowds, was that each of us had something that makes us special and different. Two of the team, Tulsi and Raiche, are burns survivors and have visible scars. Brenda has alopecia and Lynn is missing an arm. Olivia has a large scar on her chest from multiple heart surgeries, and Jess and Kerri have visible differences too. I was the only wheelchair warrior that day.

The experience was magical and liberating, and being the social media butterfly that I am, I posted constant photos and updates during our run on the catwalk. All of the feedback I got in person was super positive, and at each show the audience was packed. People clapped and cheered and we felt amazing.

Then the trolling started

Never having any idea that the event would have so much coverage, I personally was stunned when I went in for make-up on day two and saw newspapers with our pictures and online glossy mags like Cosmo featuring us too. It was pretty overwhelming but nice that what we were doing was being well received.

This, for me anyway, was when the trolling started. There was a segment of the show where we wore t-shirts saying ‘what do you see’? The idea was to challenge people’s perceptions and get them thinking about how the world perceives disabled people and people with visible differences.

Vicky, a young woman, sits in an electric wheelchair wearing a Tshirt that says "what do you see?"
Vicky wearing the T-shirt that sparked her troll experience

I posted a picture of myself across my various social media platforms, and as you can imagine it was perfect troll bait. Answers to the question on my t-shirt ranged from ‘a fat b****’ to ‘an ugly cripple’ and everything in between.

I did get similar comments on other photos from the show, but I just shrugged them off. I am extremely proud of what we achieved in that show, and of the photos that I posted online.

I won’t let it hold me back

I still post lots of photos on my various social media platforms, and of course I get mean comments. A plus size girl in a wheelchair is always going to make an easy target for people who get a kick out of trying to tear others down. It’s no different to the playground.

People try to build themselves up by knocking others down. But I can take it. I’m an adult with healthy self esteem and a good sense of who I am. I put myself out there online on a daily basis, and anyone who doesn’t like it or doesn’t like me will be ignored.

We need to tackle cyber-bullying and trolling

When I remember how I felt at 13 when I was bullied in school for being different, I know how Harvey must feel. My bullies said things to my face and that was bad enough. Cyber-bullies are faceless and don’t have to account for their actions. They hide behind a screen and a username and the bullying is merciless.

For kids like Harvey, and others his age, it doesn’t stop when they leave school. I hope Katie’s campaign to tackle cyber-bullying gets a huge amount of support so we can stop vulnerable people from being targeted.

If you’ve been affected by cyber-bullying and trolling and want to share your story, you can get in touch with the stories team.

If you’d like to read more from Vicky, visit her blog Around and Upside Down.

 

Disabled models in the fashion industry – #100days100stories

This is a guest post from disabled model Hayley-Eszti.  She is sharing her story as part of our 100 days, 100 stories campaign

When I was struck down with a severe case of ME in my late teens, I never thought I’d be where I am today. To go from being paralysed, unable to move or talk, reliant on carers, to where I am now – able to campaign for awareness of ME and disability in general, as well as becoming a disabled model, it’s all quite overwhelming.Young woman sitting in a wheelchair on a beach

I remember when I first realised my illness was so severe that I needed to use a wheelchair and mobility aids, it was scary and it was hard to accept. You never expect it to happen to you, especially because I had always been so active growing up, but that’s the thing about the disabled population, it’s the world’s largest minority of which anyone can become part of at any time. The more I began to accept my situation the more I wanted to make a positive out of a negative.

I started to see how under represented we are as a community, particularly within the fashion industry and media. I’ve always had a big interest in fashion, and it angered and upset me that disabled people were rarely, often never considered within advertising and marketing. Online shops, catwalks, even editorials and faYoung disabled woman modelling a white dress, sitting in a wheelchair in a gardenshion photographers were missing out on this huge market. There are over 11 million people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability within the UK. All of them need to wear clothes, so the question I always found myself asking was, why was nobody considering such a large group of people?

We need people to look up to, people we can relate to, and we need to see REAL disabled people, no gimmicks or able bodied models posing with some crutches for a couple of hours.

I began campaigning for more disabled models to be used within the fashion industry, and I started creating my own photo shoots which I put on my blog. The response was amazing and I soon started to receive more and more comments from people saying I should look into modelling myself. I’d been campaigning for it, so I thought why not put myself out there and try and become one of the peoYoung woman standing on a beach next to a wheelchairple I so desperately wanted to see being represented and treated equally? We don’t want to be treated differently and we are not asking for special treatment, just to be respected and treated as equals. I’m doing this to show that we are not invisible and we do matter. I want to show that we can still have dreams and fulfill them even if we do have limitations.

Something worth pointing out is that disabled models do have a place and they do resonate with people. A perfect example of this is Scope’s recent Retail stock appeal featuring Jack Eyers, a disabled model. It was their most successful retail appeal, generating 1.2 million donations, whilst also raising the issue of the lack of disabled people in the media and fashion industry. You can’t argue with figures like that.

My hope for the future is for disabled models to be the norm, for new generations to grow up regularly seeing disabled models. It’s time to make a change.

Read more stories and find out how you can get involved in 100 days, 100 stories. 

Lack of representation of disability in the fashion industry

Guest post from Chelsey Jay – model and ambassador for Models With A Disability.

People often say to me –

“Chelsey, what is the hardest part of being disabled?”

They imagine me to answer with what you may think is the obvious – how hard it was to give up my career, or how hard it was to have to leave my house behind and move into a bungalow and a whirlwind of ramps and wide doors.

But in fact, even though these things did cause significant heartbreak and anguish, the hardest part of becoming disabled, for me, was the fact that, at age 20, not only was a wheelchair thrust upon me, but so was a sudden eternity of exclusion.

It wasn’t just my mobility that I lost back in November 2012, but unbeknown to me, my significance as an individual would be stripped away too. Not through my own choice or decision. But by those that believe a disability is you and not just a part of you.

The Fashion Industry is a powerful, powerful industry.

It instructs us on what we should/shouldn’t be wearing that season, the latest era to be revisiting, whom from an array of famous faces we should be inspired by, what staples we all need in our closets, but most of all, and by far most important of all, it gives every single person who follows it, the vital sense of belonging.

That is however, unless you are disabled.

Through Models Of Diversity, a Campaigning Group that contacted me almost a year ago, I now am the Ambassador For Models With A Disability and I strive to change the aforementioned.

I will not have the fact that I essentially ‘stay sitting down’ stop me from being reflected in mainstream media – and on the larger scale, I am fighting for all the other 11million disabled people in the UK too. Not for special treatment, but the same treatment.

We may have missing limbs, or suffer with debilitating conditions, due to circumstance or just purely our bodies own choosing, but to have that as our definition! I don’t think so!

I challenge the Fashion Industry to include and not exclude people with disabilities and to realise that they are orchestrating an old fashioned and out dated version of ‘reality’. People want what I like to call the Next Generation Models, people that are not perfect but are an actual illustration of real life! This ‘out of sight, out of mind’ illusion that the Fashion Industry projects on to us, where no disabled people are represented, is just utterly preposterous and an awful, a somewhat bitter reflection of times past when black people were shunned from the world as though they too, did not exist.

In a bewildering puzzle of blame – the industry manages to get away with this clear discrimination. Brands that I pled with blame the Modeling Agencies for not supplying Disabled Models to castings, the Agencies blame the Brands for their non-existent demand for Disabled Models in the first place.

Fundamentally. They all need to be held accountable as they are all to blame.

Along this journey we are gaining incredible support, not just here in the UK but across the pond! LA Talk Radio favourites Dr Estelle Snider and John Johnson, modeling elite such as the likes of Christie Brinkley and other ends of the spectrum, that being, Members Of Parliament such as the Minister For Disabled People Kate Green – we really are gaining incredible momentum.

If the Fashion Industry is so concerned with Disabled People’s ability to model then they seriously need to wake up! Disabled people are attractive too – who knew!

Even though I too am struck with the industries banish, I am taking the power back, and not just for myself, but every other person forced to hide, in the shadow of their disability.

Visit Chelsey’s website and follow her on Twitter.

The top ten misconceptions about visual impairment

Guest post from  Emily Davison, a writer, fashion blogger, English Literature student  and YouTuber. She also happens to be visually impaired and works with a guide dog.

Emily with her guide dog Unity
Emily with Unity (photo from Guide Dogs)

Do you ever face those moments in your day where something cringe-worthy happens to you? Do you find yourself thinking how wonderful it would be if the ground would swallow you up?

In life I find that there have been many obstacles that I have had to face. But, one thing that never seems to vanish are the questions I get due to my disability. Some of them are the most awkward and frustrating moments I can recollect. Some make me want to recoil in sheer mortification.

Recently I created a video on my YouTube channel after reading an article by a young women in a wheelchair about the top ten sayings and questions that she gets due to her disability. It inspired me to relate my own version about visually impairments. Scope invited me to discuss my views on these misconceptions right here on the Scope blog.

1. “Won’t glasses help?”

I get this a lot when first meeting people and after what seems to be an eternal age of hearing it, I feel that it is time to set the record straight:

I am not a martyr. If I can improve my life in any way – I do.

But, alas the problem lies not in the eye but in the optic nerve and for me, as with many people with sight loss, glasses do not help. In short, if glasses did help me I would certainly be wearing them.

2. “Are you training that guide dog?”

There seems to be a misconception surrounding guide dog owners and the way that they mobilise in society.

Having switched from using a long cane to a guide dog, my walking speed and posture has changed an awful lot and I now walk in a confident manner and with purpose.  If a person with a guide dog walks confidently and ‘not like the stereotypical blind person’ this does not mean they must be a guide dog trainer!

3. “How long have you been blind?”

One of the biggest stereotypes around sight loss is that everyone who uses a long cane or a guide dog must have no vision whatsoever. One person with a guide dog may be fully blind, another may have some remaining vision like myself. I would always advise that when you discuss the topic of sight loss with a guide dog owner or long cane user that you use the term ‘visually impaired’ as it a more accurate representation of sight loss.

4. “You’re so normal!”

This comment, in my opinion, appears to imply that people with sight loss or other disabilities are less than ‘normal’.

Everyone is different. There is no such thing as a normal person. Disability is one small part of a person and should not be used to classify their place society.

5. “But you’re looking straight at me?”

Different individuals have different levels of vision, one person may be able to read print, whilst another may be able to see color. Some people with sight loss may be able to give you eye contact, or at least use their hearing to look in the direction of where your voice is coming from. Never presume that sight loss is all in black and white, because there are many different shades in the spectrum!

6. “She’s blind! I’ve got a chance to pull her!”

This is one of the more uncouth sayings I get in social situations such as the pub or a restaurant.

Some people think that my sight loss will increase their chances to ‘pull’. In the past this has shattered my confidence and made me recoil from dating situations. My sight loss should not be used as an advantage for other people to exploit.  Disability as a whole is something that is misunderstood when it comes to dating situations and that is why I praise Scope for including dating as a key aspect of their End The Awkward campaign.

7. “I don’t know how you do it!”

As a writer, my thesis on life is to experience as much of the world and people within it as possible. Meet new people, experience different cultures and live for every second. Time affects us all, disabled people included, and I believe that it is imperative to design your life in the way you wish and to gain autonomy over yourself. The comment of ‘I don’t know how you do it’ suggests that every disabled person is an isolated person afraid to live their life.

Never let any part of yourself hold you back, you are in charge of your disability, it is not in charge of you.

8. “You’re so trendy! You don’t look blind!”

I am still shocked by the amount of people who pass this comment with a look of incredulity on their face about how my dress sense amazes them.

Having sight loss does not have to affect a person’s relationship to fashion or style. Style is a form of expression and it depends on passion and imagination and not on your level of vision. As a visually impaired person I appreciate clothes from the fabrics and embroidery used, to the outline of the garment and how it makes me feel when I wear it. I interact with style based on a number of different senses. There are many different visually impaired people, who appreciate clothes for their shape, quality and attention to detail.

After all, fashion is a creative outlet and is not exclusive to one set of individuals.

9. “How does your guide dog know the bus numbers?”

Whenever I hear this comment I want to laugh until my sides are sore. Instead, I simply bite down hard on my tongue to keep in in place and politely inform the individual that a guide dog can only do certain things. Guide dogs do not have the power to talk or read, they follow instructions from the owner and help them to mobilise and get on and off public transport. The owner has to have full knowledge of the route they intend to take and the dog will act as the car.

10. “She’s so pretty! It’s such a shame she’s disabled!”

This is occasionally followed by the slightly more mumbled comment of “what a waste”. When I hear this my tongue takes on a life of its own and sets the world to right! My appearance is not ruined by the fact that my eyes do not work in the same manner as the majority.

I speak to everyone who reads this and considers themselves disabled. Your disability is not a shame and as so long as you are happy in the skin you are in, never allow anyone to convince you that it is!

You can read more on my thoughts and opinions on the topic of disability, style and identity by following me on the links below. Everyone is welcome on my social campaign to rid the world of its misconceptions of not just sight loss but disability in general. Come and join me, have your say and let’s make a change for good!

I also appear on RNIB’s Insight radio at 2.15 pm every Friday.

Free fashion workshop for young disabled adults

Guest post from Katherine Sparkes of the Flamingo Foundation.

Clothes rail for young disabled people's fashion workshop

Looking good is a big part of feeling good. It’s important for all us, which is why the Flamingo Foundation has launched the Find my Style project, offering free personal styling sessions to young disabled adults.

The first session, which will be held in London on 10 February, will be led by fashion stylist and master image consultant Hannah Jean. Hannah will be working with the group to boost body confidence, help people find their own sense of style, and explore how items of clothing can be adapted to meet their needs.

She’ll also showcase some of the key styles for Spring/Summer 2014 and at the end, there will be a chance to try out some of the latest looks and take part in a fashion photo-shoot.
Hannah Jean
“Image and confidence in what we wear can make a huge difference, but young disabled people can feel removed from the fashion scene and find it difficult to find on-trend clothes that suit their style and their body,” says Hannah.

“This project is a fantastic way to open up the world of fashion and demonstrate that everyone can find or adapt clothes to show off their individuality and tastes.”

The first workshop will be geared towards ages 18-35, and will take place at The Pirate Castle, Oval Road, Camden, London NW1 7EA on 10 February, between 2-4pm If you’d like to take part, please email info@flamingofoundation.org to confirm your free place.

 

Representing disability in the fashion industry

Guest post by Sarah Dawes from Bibble Plus who make bandana style adult bibs for drooling and dribbling difficulties.

Models on the catwalk
Models on the catwalk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The physical appearance of people with a disability has long been taboo, avoided in discussions at all costs. This is an attempt to escape the elephant in the room almost by pretending that disabled people don’t have an appearance at all.

We often hear people with disabilities talked of with sympathy, or with awe. As caring as these attitudes may be, they place an uncomfortable distance between those with disabilities and those without. They assume that a disabled body is something to be put up with, rather than embraced, not even exploring the notion that a disabled person might want to show off their body, not hiding the bits that are different.

It’s tiring to have to define people exclusively on a deep, emotional level, trying to find commendable characteristics to replace the physical ones that can’t be mentioned. Sometimes it really is about appreciating what’s on the outside. We spend so long dwelling on the significant differences between the lifestyles of the disabled and non-disabled that we forget all we have in common – those elements of being human that have nothing to do with disability.

One of these is fashion; whatever shape your body is, you probably take an interest in what you put on it. Portrayals of the human body within the fashion industry have long been a hot topic of debate, and the lack of representation of all kinds of groups, including different weights, ages and colours, has been focused on by the media. One group that is hardly ever considered when it comes to fashion, though, is people with disabilities.

The fashion industry’s almost exclusive use of men and women above a certain height, under a certain weight, and with everything in the “right place”, imagines that everyone can, or even aspires to, look this way. More than 11 million people live with a disability in Britain, and yet they are almost non-existent in the fashion and beauty industries.

There are some who have recognised beauty in figures that aren’t the conventional shape, though.  The campaigning group Models of Diversity have recently made a documentary, showing the work they do to get disabled models recognised. They meet with leaders in the industry to promote inclusivity within fashion.

One of the models interviewed, Kelly Knox, was born without a left hand. She was the winner of Britain’s Missing Top Model in 2008, has appeared on Gok Wan’s How to Look Good Naked, and opened Pakistan fashion week, as well as appearing in a number of fashion campaigns. She aims to challenge people’s ideas about what beauty means. Having been on the catwalk for big brand P&G, she wonders why other brands can’t also embrace models with disabilities.

Actor, model and trainer Jack Eyers was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, and had his leg amputated at 16. Involved in the Paralympic Games, he hoped there would be more disabled models in the media after the Games were over.

Demand for disabled models is slowly starting to pick up and, with the help of campaigners and ambitious disabled models, we can hope to see a wider variety of body shapes on the catwalks and in magazines in the coming years.

What’s in your wardrobe?

Guest post from Katie Adams, Media and Public Relations Officer at Scope.

Shoes
” I just wasn’t quite Liberace enough to wear them”

If you enjoy shopping, there’s a very good chance you have a wardrobe full of clothes you’ll never actually wear!

Losing weight, following a crazy fashion trend and listening to the advice of others. These are just some of the reasons we buy ourselves new clothes, but then never actually debut them in public.

A nation of secret hoarders

Later this month, we will release the surprising results of a poll into people’s shopping habits, exposing large numbers of us as secret hoarders.

Most of the men and women quizzed as part of the poll admitted buying new clothes and then just leaving them to sit in their wardrobes, with both sexes being exposed as frequent impulse shoppers.

One month, one million items

The polling will support a celebrity-backed bid to collect 1,000,000 donations at our shops throughout July. Actress Lynda Bellingham is supporting our Scope’s Great Donate – one month, one million items challenge and urging people to think about what they could donate from their own closets.

We have already been busy talking to shoppers about their reasons for hoarding clothes and we want to know what you’re hiding in your own closets.

Here’s what you’ve been telling us so far:

Craig Evry, 34, from Oxford said: “I think men are just as bad as women when it comes to shopping and we all buy clothes for the wrong reasons. I remember buying a David Beckham-style sarong in a moment of madness once – I wore it once, but needless to say it never saw the light of day again.”

Shed Simove, lives in London where he works as a performer, author & entrepreneur. He said: “I once had a suit made out of some black fur I bought at a Chinese market. The suit was beautifully cut, but when I got home and I put it on for my family, they couldn’t stop laughing. I looked like some sort of bear or gorilla. It’s such a lovely suit that I can’t bear (ahem) to part with it, so it’s just sitting in my wardrobe and hasn’t been worn since.”

Shed said he also bought a pair of pink sequinned Patrick Cox shoes which have since ended up as stunning ‘shelf art’. He explained: “I’d previously owned some black versions in the exact same design, which I adored and wore all the time. The pink ones captured my imagination when I saw them, but in the cold light of day, I just wasn’t quite Liberace enough to wear them.”

Mother Adele McIntosh, 39, had a disastrous personal-shopping experience at a big high-street chain after having her twin daughters and wanting to revamp her image.
She said: “Unfortunately for me I found myself going with the flow and ended up buying a tiny crop top and red mini skirt that I never ended up wearing.
“It’s so easy to get carried away when you’re shopping, forgetting about what you’d actually wear in your everyday life – rather than what you like in the changing room.”

Whatever the reason for your shopping mistakes, we want to hear your stories.

Email me at katie.adams@scope.org.uk, tweet us using #GreatDonate to @scope or contact us through Facebook with pictures of clothes you have bought but never worn and the reasons behind your hoarding.