Is Disability Fashion’s Forgotten Diversity Frontier?

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[Image: a screen cap of the headline “Is disability fashion’s forgotten diversity frontier?”. The subheading reads “When it comes to diversity, there’s one area that often goes unmentioned – but who’s making a difference and where is there still work to be done?” taken from the Dazed website]

I was interviewed on Dazed’s website about disabled models, the importance of visibility, and why we need to go beyond tokenism when it comes to representation. You can read it here.

#DisabilityBeauty, Reclamation, and Radical Pleasure

Last week I was lucky enough to take part in one of Easter Seals Thrive’s regular Twitter chats on disability. The subject this time was beauty and clothing, tackling things such as disability representation in the fashion industry, our personal relationships with fashion, the near-universal fugness of assistive equipment, and our favourite clothing hacks (leggings, leggings, leggings). It was a great conversation and you can (no, should!) check out on Storify here, or by searching the #DisabilityBeauty hashtag on Twitter.  (more…)

Beauty Against The Grain


Mirror, mirror [Image description: A photo of myself taken in a small round table-top mirror, I have short, purple hair and I am wearing black framed glasses and a brown faux fur coat. Behind the mirror on the table there is a collection of my makeup]

This essay originally appeared in Issue 1 of Doll Hospital. You can buy a digital copy of the journal here. Posted with permission.

I was a pretty good kid, standard-issue teenage grumpiness aside, and when I think back to my youthful forays into rebellion, they came almost exclusively in the form of how I chose to dress. Looking back on my clothing choices now, they seem quaint, bordering on adorable. Wide-leg purple corduroys (yikes!), too-tight band t-shirts (they only came in one size!), armfuls of plastic jewelry, half a stick of black kohl round my eyes. The usual “I’m from a small town but I’m unique and have feelings, Mum!” uniform. But it was also my first attempt to stand out from the crowd in a way that I controlled myself as a young, visibly disabled woman in a society where inclusion and acceptance of difference is hard to come by. (more…)

RIP Stella Young

I have just learned of the death of disability activist, writer and comedian Stella Young. She was 32 years old.

I did not know Stella, but I am a huge fan of her writing. There was no-one like her in the world of disability activism. Her work was incisive, bold, usually hilarious, and often incredibly poignant.

I think a testament to her skill is that every time she published a new piece of work I thought to myself “This will be on the syllabus when I become a teacher”. Her writing was accessible, confrontational, and could cut straight to the point.

It’s late, and I am tired and devastated. I have no more deep, meaningful words to say, so let’s allow Stella’s words do the talking. It’s the least we can do for someone who has done so much for our community.

Below are links to two letters she wrote, one to her past self as a teenager, and one to herself as an eighty-year-old. As Andrew Pulrang says:

I want every high school age kid in a wheelchair, who uses crutches, or who is sure that their bodies are too weird and messed up to be loved, to read these letters before they graduate into adulthood.

Stella’s words went far (one example; last time I checked, a .gifset of her excellent TED talk had over 100,000 notes on Tumblr). Let’s ensure her legacy is that they are not forgotten.

Stella Young: A Letter To My Younger Self

Stella Young’s Letter To Herself At 80 Years Old


You can read more of Stella’s pieces here.

Call For Participants


Sadly, these dogs, although very fashionable, are not eligible for participation in my research.

I’m now at the point in my PhD research where I am looking for interview participants!

If you are a woman with a mobility impairment and would like to take part in my study exploring clothing, fashion, disability and identity please email me at

I’m looking for anyone who identifies as female and as someone with a mobility impairment. Impairments can be visible or invisible, from birth or acquired, medically diagnosed or undiagnosed. I’m looking for a diverse group of women to interview and although the project is focused on clothing and fashion you don’t have to be! You must however, be over the age of 18 to take part in the study.

Interviews can take place either face-to-face (I’m based in London, UK) or over Skype/Facetime. I will also consider conducting interviews via email if you feel this is more suitable for you. Interviews will last between 40 minutes and an hour and will be recorded. All data will be anonymised and stored on an encrypted hard drive. This research has been approved by the University of the Arts London ethics committee.

I need one participant by the end of this year. I’m aiming to conduct the rest of the interviews between January-May 2015.