Not being a fan of Gok Wan’s How To Look Good Naked, I hadn’t heard about the show’s campaign to get disabled models into high street stores, so I was pleasantly surprised when I walked past Debenhams at the weekend and saw this image[editor’s note 2022: no longer available] (of Shannon Murray) in the window. Apparently they are also featuring mannequins with wheelchairs inside the stores. While featuring a woman whose disability is only manifest in her use of a wheelchair rather than in an obvious physical sense might be taking the easier route in terms of representing disabled women, I still think it’s a positive move. It’s the first time I’ve seen a wheelchair user in a shop window display, at least.
I wonder, though, how accessible the shops themselves are for wheelchair users and other people with disabilities – it’s all very well for high street fashion to try and embrace some disabled women in the name of getting more women to spend money so they can feel Gok-tastic (says the fashion-hating cynic in me) – but if this budding disability awareness stops at representation, it’s hardly good enough.