• Erin Clark

Fashion, But Make it Wheelchair


Fashion is a fantasy. An imagination game. We make statements and unmake them when we dress and undress. It’s also, oh god —you guys— an *adaptive device.* We wear clothes at all because our bodies are so ill equipped to regulate temperature and withstand raw elements. I declare it: fashion is disabled.


And like with most disabled-related accommodations - it will be better for everyone when we finally accept this.@tess.daly (whose makeup tutorials on instagram are epic, check her out!) posted about people complaining that when she is modeling clothing as a brand ambassador they can’t really tell what the garments are like because she is sitting in her wheelchaiar.


Online shopping, particularly through influencer accounts, is inherently imaginary. They create a fantasy, we imagine ourselves in the lead role of that fantasy. If we like how it feels in our mind, we buy the outfit. the influencer didn’t do anything we can’t do for ourselves - make the fantasy up - we are just so used to outsourcing our imagination. How much of yourself is the frame of reference for your own fantasies? Sense of beauty? This is a vital practice.


Inspiration is a process that involves translating what someone else is doing into your own body language and lifestyle. When translating, all languages are equal, but not all things can be said exactly between them. Being multi lingual is notorious for expanding your perception. Learn disability the way you learn fashion, use them like verbs.


I made this video in 2018 inspired by a designer saying they couldn’t use disabled models because then it wouldn’t be about the clothes, people would be too preoccupied with the disability. This was published at the same time Gucci accessorized their runway show with severed heads and Dolce and Gabbana had drones fly the catwalk showcasing their purses. Fashion is not about the clothes. “Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Said Coco Chanel. We *have* to wear clothes. But we did the most human thing, we obscured the functional necessity — we made it *mean* something.


So, Fashion, but then make it wheelchair.

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