2019 was a pivotal year for the adaptive sector of the fashion industry. I know, I’ve followed fashion and clothing trends for the disabled for over two decades. Last year the pace at which I received interview requests about my work and Google alerts about adaptive fashion signified a shift in culture. So much so, that trend forecasters I respect like Geraldine Wharry confirmed my hunch when during a conversation, she casually referred to the adaptive fashion movement as a trend. But did this trend translate into new designer collections for people with disabilities? No, not yet, but I’m hopeful, even in this dark time. I’m hopeful that we will find a way forward, but I have no idea how. So I’m feverishly reading everything I can, attending Zoom conversations, listening to podcasts, and watching Instagram Lives to see what other professionals, who know way more than I do, are saying about the state of the fashion industry during the age of COVID 19.
I have a lot of questions about where people with disabilities fit into this new normal, so I’ve dedicated an entire category of my blog to explore questions like:
- Will the popularity of comfort wear due to safer at home mandates usher in the era of universally designed clothing for sitting, standing, and partial and completely laying down?
- Since people with disabilities know what it’s like to live in a world with life-threatening barriers will that make us the go-to thought leaders of the post-COVID 19 era and beyond?
- How will the need for social distancing impact my work as a disability fashion stylist and other wardrobe professionals working on film, tv, and photoshoot sets around the world?
- What will shopping in brick and mortar stores look like?
- What about fashion shows? Will “phygital” shows really become the next iteration of the fashion show?
- What about supply chains, will mass order cancellations create more fashion waste, upcycling, etc…?
- Now that Naomi Campbell has styled, and shot her cover for essence with her iPhone and Zach Baron followed in her footsteps with his self-portrait covering GQ Magazine?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, yet but I will continue to explore them. If you have some insight, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or comment below. Let’s have this important conversation because in the midst of the horrible pandemic that has human taken the lives of so many in such a short amount of time, and crippled so many financially this an opportunity to reimagine the industry, making it slower more inclusive, sustainable, responsive.
NOTE: This article was updated May 15, 2020
Please Stay Safe and Be Well,