These days brands seem to be trying (and failing) to meet the mark where inclusivity is concerned. From FashionNova who launched their menswear line to In The Style with their “WeHateJosh” discount code inclusivity seems to be the new black. However, in the midst of all of this, ASOS may have actually cracked the code.
In collaboration with Team GB Paralympic athlete and BBC Bristol sports reporter Chloe Ball-Hopkins the clothing line designed a waterproof jumpsuit, ahead of festival season, that is also wheelchair friendly.
Chloe was born with Arthrogryposis which meant that she was born without hips. The condition also means that her shins are also affected. Though she has had surgery, Chloe spends the majority of her life in a wheelchair. She expressed that this made shopping difficult as it was hard to envision what the model was wearing on herself in the chair.
Chloe has shared that she got the idea after being drenched at Splendour Festival the previous year with her boyfriend and feeling as though it left her looking “like you’ve taken your gran out of the care home for a day”. She emailed ASOS hoping that they would be interested in the idea but assuming that they would take the idea themselves and expand on it, what she didn’t expect was that they would actually work on it together and that she would go on to be one of the models advertising it on the ASOS website.
The idea behind the jumpsuit is about making fashion accessible. There aren’t two separate designs for people who are and are not in a wheelchair, instead it’s one design that is able to work for everyone.
So over the last several months I have been working with @ASOS to create a fashionable, yet practical waterproof all in one! Not just for people like me in a chair but for anyone. It's about making fashion accessible! So what should be next?! https://t.co/1gzzkRlED9 pic.twitter.com/7yS57QEmpD
— Chloe Ball-Hopkins (@chloe_ballhopzy) July 4, 2018
The jumpsuit is waterproof with a waterproof pocket on the breast, as opposed to being at the hips where pockets are often found, to store important things such as medical information and phones. It has cuffs on the feet which Chloe says make it ideal for people with different heights and even “means its easy to put wellies on”. It also has a zip around the waist which makes it easier to put on or take off despite being an all in one piece.
This of course is just the latest step towards inclusivity taken by ASOS. They have previously taken a stand against airbrushing the stretch marks on their models and they have also been credited as being excellent with the diverse hiring of their models as they hire people of different races, sizes and differing body shapes. Their Curve range was dubbed the most fashionable plus size range by Cosmopolitan Magazine.
ASOS are not the first big name brand to create things that are disability friendly. In November 2017 Mindy Scheier, founder of non-profit organisation “Runway Dreams”, an organisation that aims to educate the fashion industry about changes that can be made in order to become more accessible, gave a Ted-Talk in partnership with Tommy Hilfiger where she talked about how there are 1 billion people in the world that experience some form of disability. Tommy Hilfiger were the first mainstream brand to actually launch a clothing line for children with disabilities then went on to expand that line to adults. Amongst other retailers who have gone on to take similar steps are Nike and American retailer, Target.
The jumpsuit is available for £50 from the ASOS and can be purchased here.