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Selma Blair Wants to Make Fashion More Inclusive for People With Disabilities

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After announcing her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in Oct. 2018, Blair said she was relieved to finally get answers after years of experiencing symptoms. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, she revealed she actually has only one major complaint about her life with MS. While many might expect her to name a certain symptom or side effect, her answer is still all too relatable: the lack of fashionable clothing available to those with illnesses and disabilities.

Though strides have been made to improve the design and availability of adaptive fashion, it’s considered revolutionary when a brand features styles that are both fashionable and inclusive – but Blair wants to change that.

“I would like to partner with someone like Christian Siriano on a line for everyone – not just people who necessarily need adaptive clothing, but for those who want comfort, too,” Blair explained. “It can still be chic. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style. Like, let’s get elastic waistbands to look a little bit better.”

Blair also believes fashion needs to extend to canes, as canes should “fit right and look cool.” During her first public appearance at Vanity Fair’s Oscar party on Sunday, Blair posed with a customized cane that featured patent leather, her monogram and a pink diamond.

“I have met so many people on Instagram who have said that they were always ashamed of their cane,” said Blair. “You want to still be part of the living, not a shuffling person people get out of the way for because they’re queasy. A cane, I think, can be a great fashion accessory.”

Blair believes it’s important to speak out and raise awareness of these issues – not only because she loves fashion, but because she wants to be honest about the very real effects a disease like MS can have.

“I’m pretty much a nobody in Hollywood,” she said. “But when I read comments on Instagram from people who were suffering, whether it was from MS, or anything, I thought, Holy shit, there’s a need for honesty about being disabled from someone recognizable.”

For Mighty contributor Mariana Solarte Caicedo, a young woman who uses a cane due to chronic illness, seeing Blair walk the red carpet with a fashionable cane was incredibly powerful. She wrote:

When I saw Selma looking powerful, sexy, gorgeous and victorious, it was a huge deal. I can only imagine her pain, her struggle, her thoughts about taking that step and going out into pretty much the most fashionable night of the entertainment industry living her truth.

I know now that I can look magnificent and powerful with my cane and deformed joints. I know that I’m not a weirdo for giving my body the help it needs. I know I can be a beautiful, empowered woman thanks to this representation.

Though some of those with illnesses or disabilities may struggle feeling confident with how their bodies have changed or using a mobility aid, Blair doesn’t believe this should be this case.

“I really feel like people with disabilities are invisible to a lot of people. Because they’re uncomfortable or don’t have the energy to dress up, don’t want to be seen…” she said. But Blair plans to continue speaking up, sharing her story and merging fashion and disability. “If I can help anyone be more comfortable in their skin, it’s more than I’ve ever done before.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons/LGEPR

Originally published: February 27, 2019
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