This past Saturday, Epicenter Community, ArtsEmerson, and the disability community came together to host the first ever “The Fashion Accessibility Project” — a year-long project that aims to create a space and platform for authentic discussion around the accessibility of fashion for the disability community.
In society, the words “fashion” and “disability” are rarely associated with one another. In an ableist culture, in which able-bodiedness is the basis for attractiveness and beauty, the disabled body is ignored or forgotten, especially when it comes to fashion.
By pairing designers with models with disabilities to design custom and fully functional clothing specifically suited to their lifestyle and need, we aim to educate society at large about designing for the disability community and how important disability visibility is in the fashion industry.
The project celebrated beauty, disability, and the humanity of innovative design. With full ASL integration and fully integrated seating, everyone was able to experience the show in the same way- without any extra work! The night started with a short documentary about the models and designers involved.
It was truly a night to remember! Malia Lazu, president of Epicenter Community, opened up the night with a speech about all Epicenter has learned while organizing the Fashion Accessibility Project before ArtsEmerson joined her on stage to talk about producing the show.
Our beautiful MC Hailey Boyan then took the stagee and introduced us to her personal story and how she became a part of the project. We then started the show!
Special thanks to our designers, Ray Grand of Ray Grand Apparel, Joelle Fontaine of I Am Kreyol, Peda Edouard of Mathmatik Athletics and Jay Calderin of Boston Fashion Week, to our models, Heather Watkins, Keith Jones, Donald Washington, Cheri Blauwet, Eli Wolff, Laura Ferrone, Marty Harris, Brooks Bard, Jessica Mayer and Hailey Boyan.
Thank you to all of our community partners: Partners for Youth With Disabilities, Soul Touchin’ Experience, Runway of Dreams, JB Access, Open Style Lab, Power of Sport, New Balance, Arts Connect International, The Boston Foundation.
Please find the link to the video of the full Fashion Accessibility Project here.