Disabled Bodies Deserve Clothing

Now, maybe you think that’s a headline and a half… But stop and listen to me for a moment. Maybe you’ll be nodding along, maybe it will make you surprised. Either way – I have something that I think needs saying.

Disabled bodies deserve clothing.

If you are in a wheelchair, manual or electric, you need clothing that won’t catch on wheels, won’t dig in when you’re sat all day, isn’t tight around any of your problem areas when seated, and still meets whatever criteria you have for fashion.

If you have problematic joints, you need to be able to put on your clothing without causing any pain or dislocations. This means there are big huge question marks over any buttons, any fiddly zips, any fastenings. You need to be able to wear your clothes without your joints being pained or irritated. And still meet whatever criteria you have for fashion.

If you have continence concerns, you need access, often at speed, with ease. A lot of disabled toilets are not incontinence friendly, especially with other mobility issues factored in, so you need your clothes to do what they can to help you out. Quick and easy openings, and still meet whatever criteria you have for fashion.

With visual impairment, you need to be able to see clearly or at least feel any closings. There’s also the consideration of colours and patterns aggravating certain eye or neuro conditions, the need to think about ability to put clothes on with limited vision, tendencies for dizziness, difficulty bending. All while still meeting whatever criteria you have for fashion.

These are just some of the concerns I face myself, and I am hardly one to speak for all disabled people. My wardrobe is an eclectic mix of a selection of brands that actually fit my body – because also, let’s remember, on top of all of this, we all have different body shapes and sizes – and suit my needs. I have some with patterns on that I can only tolerate on good migraine days. I have some that are a bit tighter across my belly that are strongly ignored when my endometriosis and my abdominal issues are flaring. I have some with zips that I can only wear when someone is with me to help me put it on and take it off.

And we deserve better.

There are companies such as Kintsugi Clothing who I LOVE and are a wonderful growing brand (I’ll be talking about their Rosa Cape in more depth at a later date!) but as disabled people, our options are still limited. Snag Tights are a company I feel very passionately about because they are so accessibility friendly in many ways, but if that’s two companies I can think of – that’s not enough.

What am I aiming to achieve with this post?

Well, two things really. Firstly, I wanted to start a conversation that needs to be more widespread, between disabled people and able bodied people. Secondly I wanted to draw attention to this matter by brands because if you can do something to help disabled people, do it! Does that dress need a zip on? Can you make that bra front fastening? Have you considered a stretch fabric? Can the waist be made high?

What I want to do is get a directory of brands that have at least some disabled friendly clothing. That doesn’t always need to mean making huge changes. High waist stretchy trousers, side fastening clothing rather than back fastening, large buttons rather than fiddly ones, a wide range of colour options when creating patterned items…

Mainly, I’m just putting this out there. We deserve clothing too.

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