Do High Street shops think about equality and diversity when it comes to fashion?

Joshua Reeves

Disability rights advocate Joshua Reeves discusses whether high street brands are thinking enough about diversity. 

If more fashion designers incorporated accessible clothing into their designs and products, we would see a lot of change.

Joshua Reeves pointing at something off camera

Fashion is a style that is popular at a specific time. It ranges from clothes to hair, make-up and accessories to name a few. It shouldn’t be pushed to the curb on how you look, how you act or whether you have a disability. 

If we want to wear a kind of clothing brand, then it should be adaptable to the person. It's important that high street brands are including options for disabled people. Otherwise we potentially have to seek out adaptable clothing brands.

Not meeting needs

I have lived with the struggle of finding 'on trend' jeans for years. I cannot do up buttons or zips, so need options that either have elasticated waists or Velcro attached. Having adapted clothes enables me to dress either independently or with less support.

For my style personally, I also love wearing Converse. However, I need rubber laces as I struggle to tie my shoes and have been unable to find any so far to fit my Converse. 

Brands need to adapt

High Street brands should incorporate adaptions for everyone, disabled or otherwise. They need to design their clothes for everyone’s use. A lack of adaptable options feels unfair when I go into a shop on the high street.

Whilst I like the clothing in there, the options, aside from wearing t-shirts, are very limited. I struggle to use buttons so many of their styles are unsuitable for me. Perhaps a looser shirt designed like a t-shirt but with no buttons (or fake ones that give the illusion of being buttoned) could work?

Being on trend

Disabled people want to be 'on trend' too. Currently, the options for adapted clothes are typically available through a care website.

I'm not being funny, but these clothes are not usually 'in fashion'! We want to look like the bee’s knees and not like we have travelled from the past!

If more fashion designers incorporated accessible clothing into their designs and products, we would see a lot of change. Particularly with how fellow humans view people with disabilities in society. 

We need change

It’s 2019. We need to see more change, like high street brands promoting more people with disabilities on adverts. The times have already changed so that we see more variation in ethnicity and sexuality on adverts.

Equality is slowly being achieved, but we still rarely see disabled people on adverts or even being given the same rights as others. We want to look fashionable, sexy and smart!

Better access to fashion and more representation can really benefit disabled people. It would also give me, and any other disabled person, more confidence knowing that there are trendy clothes available to meet our needs.