FASHION

Beauty and the Beasts: Disability Fashion

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Steven Claeys

Unrealistic Beauty Standards

We live in an age where people are constantly putting up pictures of themselves on social media, seeking compliments, and hoping other people will perceive them as beautiful or sexy.

Our society idolizes beautiful people and views "normal" people not being "thin or tan" enough.  This can leave you feeling ridiculed. Let's face the truth; it has never mattered more how you look than it does today. Everyone knows this, yet there are many businesses who completely ignore this fact.

Evolution of Inclusion

We have a saying in Belgium that translates:"Just because you're disabled does not mean you need to dress like it." I could not agree with this statement more.  

Disabled people used to be locked away, isolated, and kept indoors. Over the last few decade(s), that misconception has drastically changed. The internet and modern technology has changed that, and people with disabilities are no longer incapable of being part of society. People with disabilities are no longer bound to their homes, but are redescovering their neighbourhoods and traveling the world.  

Reclaiming their place in society people with disabilities are also subjected to rules, and this is where the trouble starts.  In a world where looks are everything, people with disabilities face judgement and ridicule because they are unable to find adapted products that will help them look fabulous.

Companies Show a Blind Eye

Everyone knows that self-esteem is influenced by how you think other people perceive you. This is why many people with disabilities are trying so hard to change the view on disabled people, fight prejudice, and disprove wrong preconceptions society has about disabled people. When we go back to the basic need to look "nice," people with visible disabilities are at a disadvantage on every level.

Not only do they look different, there are almost no products designed to make them look better. The companies that make medical devices and adapted products completely ignore this fact. Almost every product made for people with disabilities looks, feels, and resonates "disabled!" Luckily, not everyone is blind to this fact...

Sitwear & Makt Vision

More and more small companies and startups appear to understand that visibly disabled people want to look good too. Companies like Ribcap, Entusia and Carbon Black or my own company, Sitwear & Makt were actually founded with the idea that disabled people shouldn't look, dress or feel like they are disabled. The healthcare industry is big, regulated, and rigid, but there is a movement out there fighting for your right to look good.

Look out for those companies and support them, they are the ones bringing you products that embody your strength to carry on and reflect your inner beauty. They are the ones trying to change the view of the entire industry by challenging the big corporations. They do it for us, and they need our help to succeed.

So if you find a company like this, please like their social media pages and join their newsletters. More importantly; test them, share your feedback, and recommend them to others in need of confidence! They will thank you for it, I know I will!

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