Fashion Forward: Stylish Homes, Clothes and Tech for People with SCI
There’s an assumption that disability takes away your need to express yourself in any other way than being disabled, and that luxury isn’t accessible.
This assumption extends to having your own sense of style.
It’s completely untrue that disability and style aren’t compatible - and spinal cord injury certainly shouldn’t stop anyone from expressing themselves through fashion, design and the tech they want to use.
Who Says Disabled People Can’t Look Great?
London, New York and Milan Fashion Weeks during the month of February haven’t historically been very inclusive - but now, disabled models and adaptive clothing are part of the lineup. That’s a giant leap forward, because it means disabled fashion is becoming more mainstream.
Body positivity blossoms from events like these making changes and becoming more inclusive. The buzz and positive reactions make designers and manufacturers take notice - and that’s how we get desirable, fashion-forward adaptive clothing lines on the high street and online.
Disabled people can - and do - look great. It’s easier than ever to look good at any price point - with big brands on board from Tommy Hilfiger to ASOS - but it’s still a big issue and more can be done.
More often than not, clothes off the rack aren’t great for wheelchair users. Many people with SCI spend a great deal of time with their chairs, and clothes sometimes have to be customised to allow better movement or reduce pressure sores.
Adaptive shirts, for example, look just like any other shirt - but they’re optimised for wear while seated and can be opened from the back, to make getting dressed and undressed quicker and easier. Trousers and shorts are cut differently - with a higher back, lower front and quick opening to help people with reduced mobility.
Magnetic fasteners, Velcro and expandable/collapsible sleeves and legs are small adjustments that totally transform the experience of getting dressed for people with lower mobility - and when big fashion brands start including these features in their lines, they make everyone look good.
Adaptive Cars, Homes and Technology
Our world has come a long way in a short amount of time. We’ve witnessed the rise of new tech that has made life for everyone, including disabled people, easier. And as our collective technologies get better, we find better ways to adapt and apply them to more use cases. As technology improves, the world becomes a more accessible place. Accessible technology is now, thankfully, mainstream - with voice assistants, smarthome controls and alternative device inputs available off the shelf.
There’s a growing market for adapted cars, and within that, a desire for supercars, sports cars and luxury vehicles among disabled people. Some manufacturers recognise this - but most don’t. That doesn’t mean that supercars can’t be adapted - hand controls can be added to just about any car - there’s just the small matter of price. If (like most people) you can’t afford one, you can still have a go in an adapted supercar at a track day from iCan Experiences.
There’s still a huge amount of work to do in housing for disabled people. Only 5% of homes in the UK are fully accessible to wheelchair users. But now at least, new build homes in the UK require basic accessibility features - like wider doors and downstairs toilets. New homes bought off plan can be specified with hoists, ramps, handles and built in accessible technology.
Some developers are thinking ahead - designing single storey new build homes with wet rooms and accessibility in mind. And as new builds, they’re blank canvases for adding your own style.
Living in style shouldn’t be a dream for disabled people - it should be just as accessible for everyone. Beyond grab rails and wide doors, furniture design needs to be considered, too; dining tables adapted for wheelchair use, sofas that are easy to access - and even flooring that’s tough enough to withstand lots of rolling.
You absolutely can find things that fit your purpose and look great. IKEA furniture is cheap, great looking and easy to adapt if it isn’t suitable already.
We’re a Different Kind of Law Firm
Aspire Law is a specialist law firm, working for people with SCI. We help and support everyone affected by spinal cord injury - with advice, legal help and even housing.
Get in touch, even if you don’t have a claim - give us a call on 0800 030 20 40.