Paralympians team up with designers to bring disabled fashion to the high street

Members of Britain's Paralympics team are collaborating with label Teatum Jones on a disabled clothing range [Photo: Getty]
Members of Britain’s Paralympics team are collaborating with label Teatum Jones on a disabled clothing range [Photo: Getty]

The fashion industry is known for its exclusionary policies, only just starting to cater for people of different sizes. But what about those who are missing limbs? Or resigned to a wheelchair?

London-based brand Teatum Jones is aiming to appeal to disabled shoppers in a new clothing range that will be showcased next year.

Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones will be teaming up with British Paralympians in a bid to design styles that will take in the views and opinions of people with a wide range of physical disabilities. Over the next two months, Teatum Jones will meet with athletes to find fabrics that don’t irritate their limbs and styles that allow that all-important freedom.

Double amputee Aimee Mullins is one of the only disabled models to walk in a fashion show, appearing in Alexander McQueen's 1998 show. [Photo: PA]
Double amputee Aimee Mullins is one of the only disabled models to walk in a fashion show, appearing in Alexander McQueen’s 1998 show [Photo: PA]

“We want to develop able-bodied and disabled ranges that will cross over. Our creative drive comes from wanting to tell people’s stories – the stuff that fashion doesn’t normally pay attention to. Why isn’t disability being catered for in fashion?” Teatum told the Guardian.

The designers also revealed that the label is set to sign a deal with a major high street retailer and that “we will want to get them on board with our disabled range.”

Wheelchair user Jillian Mercado signed to modelling agency IMG, appearing in a number of high-profile campaigns [Photo: Getty]
Wheelchair user Jillian Mercado signed to modelling agency IMG, appearing in a number of high-profile campaigns [Photo: Getty]

Although the concept sounds brilliant, many high-profile disabled names are sceptical of the idea. TV presenter Sophie Morgan, who attempted to sell a wheelchair for mannequins to retailers five years ago, explained her concerns: “Putting people in fashion shows with disabilities feels good on one level, but it still isn’t everyday life. I had such a difficult time trying to make people understand that there’s a reason to communicate with people like myself.”

“We get plus size, we get petite size. Why don’t we have seating size?”

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