Fashion accessible for all

Mark Lane

Our ambassador Mark Lane talks about the importance of disability representation in mainstream fashion.

Why should I have to choose something just because it is comfortable or can be removed with ease.

Mark Lane in a garden, wrapping a scarf around his face

I have always had an interest in fashion. Since my car accident in 2001 I have had to rethink my clothing options, while at the same time remaining current and comfortable. Yet, why is it that fashions for men are always so limited, and in my opinion boring and safe.

I love a little bit of flamboyancy — hence my growing collection of scarves, which I love as a fashion accessory. Although if I’m being totally honest also to cover my stomach. Fashion designers do not seem to cater for people who need to sit for long lengths of time.

Getting the fit right

Whether you are able-bodied or not, when sitting the stomach invariably sticks out a little. I also have a lot of trouble sourcing jackets that fit. They need to fit across the shoulders (no shoulder pads or Dynasty-like shoulders for me) and be shorter in length so as not to catch on the wheels of my wheelchair.

All of my clothing comes from high street fashion stores. I know there are collections for men who are less able-bodied. However, they are either along the lines of something that my grandfather would have worn or at least 10 years behind the high street fashions.

Style and comfort

I am delighted to see varying lengths of trousers and some jackets appearing in the stores. From my seated position I invariably need longer length trousers. But for the reasons given I tend to steer away from adaptive clothing companies, purely because I have not seen anything that I like or can afford. And why should I have to choose something just because it is comfortable or can be removed with ease.    

It is time that high street stores stock a full range of clothing for all. It would also be great to see more disabled models showcasing everyday clothes. Just think how enlightening it would be if more shops had window displays with disabled models looking strong, powerful and at the same time elegant, comfortable and fashionable.