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We Need Diverse Disability Representation in Retail Stores


Earlier this year a¬†bridal shop received positive news coverage for having a window¬†display with a¬†mannequin in a wheelchair. While this is an amazing example of disability in the retail industry, instead of just celebrating, we should be asking, “why isn’t this the norm?”¬† Mannequin in a wheelchair wearing a bridal gown.

Artist and TV presenter Sophie Morgan (who is a paraplegic) has designed a product called the Mannequal — “a wheelchair for mannequins that is both a style guide for wheelchair users and a symbol of inclusivity.” But as well as wheelchairs, why can’t other disabilities and impairments¬†be shown in the retail industry?

Sure, having a mannequin sitting down give you an idea of what clothes are suitable if you’re in a seated position, something I’m faced with myself when clothes shopping as a wheelchair user. But what about mannequins with prosthetic legs or an arm¬†amputee¬†like Kelly¬†Knox who won the¬†modeling show “Britain’s Missing Top Model?” Of course only visible¬†disabilities can be shown, but I think mannequins who are “differently normal” and represent¬†disabilities/impairments¬†should be everywhere. After all there are over 11¬†million people with¬†disabilities in the U.K.
Mannequal mannequins in wheelchairs.
All-in-all I think the retail industry has a long way to go, but little gestures like the bridal shop and stores using things like the Mannequal are making progress in representing consumers with a disability.

Image Credits: Naomi G.

This story originally appeared on Diary of a Zebra.