Disability: life is not a cover page
Are magazine covers the means to make a change?
Put disability on a cover page, and the life of disabled people improves. But from fashion magazines’ glossy covers to real life, does anything change for those with disabilities? Is accessibility something they arrange when setting up locations, workplaces, or events?
Inclusivity in fashion
British Vogue is one of the most committed magazines on “Reframing Fashion.”
Indeed, considering the positive comments on covers featuring disabled models, it seems change is real and tangible.
Our experience on disability
Our viewpoint is a little different. We understand that a diverse representation may help people broaden their views. But we aren’t satisfied with it. Specifically, we would exchange cover pages with real accessibility on a daily basis to shops, events, locations and so on.
Allow us to explain. I, myself, Ro, writing this post, am a wheelchair user. A few weeks ago, Cri and I attended Milano Design Week. Apart from very few exceptions, most places weren’t accessible. Indeed, we had to exclude some venues a priori. In many other places, I had to stand up and climb one to three steps. Cri had to lift the wheelchair, carry it inside, and then I could sit again.
Thank goodness, I can do that. But what about those who cannot? Those who use electric wheelchairs?
Disability and real accessibility in fashion
Of course, it works the same in fashion showrooms. In the fashion industry, people love to discuss inclusion and diversity on social media, advertising or cover pages, but they do the opposite in everyday life.
I had a disgraceful experience with Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana a few years ago. “Because of Covid”, so they said, I couldn’t access an event they organized. The invitation was for one person, but being in a wheelchair, I needed plus one to help me. They said no. But Camera Moda proudly has a Diversity and Inclusion section! What do they not understand about disability? (You can read the full story here).
What’s the message? Disability is the subject of the cover pages, but please, don’t show up at events? Please, don’t go shopping? Don’t visit a museum or take a train?
What are we talking about showing disability on cover pages? Marketing? That’s what it is. In fact, diversity and inclusion are some of those magnificent fashion bullshit the industry loves!
Just don’t show up in real life!