Woman praises bridal shop for making disabled people feel visibleJanuary 10, 2019
‘This makes me cry a little’: Customers praise bridal shop for posing a window mannequin in a wheelchair – and call for more retailers to do the same
- Beth Wilson, 36, tweeted a picture of the window in her hometown of Portishead
- The artist, who has used a wheelchair for five years, said she felt represented
- Her tweet has since gone viral, with people praising the inclusivity of the shop
- The shop’s owners said they ‘didn’t think much’ when they installed the display
A woman has praised a bridal boutique for making disabled people feel ‘visible’ after they included a mannequin in a wheelchair in their window display.
Beth Wilson, 36, who uses a wheelchair, tweeted a picture of the window in her hometown of Portishead, Bristol saying it was the fist time she’d seen disability portrayed in a shop window.
The photo of The White Collection Bridal shop has since gone viral, with hundreds of people replying to the tweet to say how touched they were – including one who admitted she was moved to tears.
‘This makes me cry a little,’ one said, while another said she wished more bridal shops could be so inclusive.
Beth Wilson, 36, who uses a wheelchair, tweeted a picture of the window in her hometown of Portishead, Bristol saying it was the fist time she’d seen disability portrayed in a shop window
The photo has since gone viral, with hundreds of people replying to the tweet to say how touched they were
The tweet read: ‘The new wedding shop in town has a wheelchair using mannequin and it shouldn’t be exciting but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window’.
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Speaking to Femail, Beth said: ‘I’ve been using a chair for about five years now, not full time but usually when I leave the house.
‘I think most disabled people experience inaccessibility often when they go out, I know I do, pretty much every time I go anywhere.
Beth (pictured), who has been using a wheelchair for five years, praised the shop for its inclusive window display
‘The world isn’t designed for us. This is the first time I’ve seen a wheelchair in a shop window like this (mobility shops not included) and it was so surprising to see and made me feel represented.
She added that the Twitter reaction meant a lot, because disabled people often aren’t recognised in advertising.
‘So often disabled people feel invisible because we don’t see ourselves in the media much and especially not modelling beautiful clothes.
‘The reaction on Twitter has shown that it means a lot to other people too.
Beth said: ‘So often disabled people feel invisible because we don’t see ourselves in the media much and especially not modelling beautiful clothes’
‘Twenty percent of the population is disabled in some way, it’s about time we see that reflected in media, advertising, everything.
‘Mobility aids are often portrayed as negative things that people want to hide when actual mobility aids like wheelchairs give us freedom.
‘It’s great that the decorated the chair rather than try and hide it away I don’t need a wedding dress (already married and don’t wear dresses) but if I did, I’d definitely be far happier about going to a shop where I knew that I’d be accepted, wheelchair and all’.
Sisters Laura Allen and Sarah Parker, who own the shop, told Femail: ‘We are delighted to see such a positive response to our window display and are pleased to hear that it has encouraged people to speak about inclusivity within the bridal industry’
They added they ‘didn’t think much about it’ when they installed the display.
‘It’s been great having such a positive response, but in a way it’s quite sad people have done a double take, it shows how rare it is to see a wheelchair in a shop window,’ said Mrs Allen.
‘It would be nice one day for people to double take just because they like the dress.’
The 29-year-old does not believe they are the first to represent disability in this way, but would like other shops to follow their example.
The tweet was met with a lot of positive reactions, but Laura Allen, who owns the bridal shop with her sister Sarah Parker, said they ‘didn’t think much about it’ when they installed the display
‘It’s an industry that’s well known for not being inclusive, a lot of bridal shops you go past you see the standard skinny mannequin,’ she said.
‘But everyone gets married, it doesn’t matter what you look like or how you are, your day is going to be special.
‘The mannequin looks amazing and the dress looks just as good as if they were stood up.’
The wheelchair in the display was given a decorative garland, something Beth also appreciated.
Twitter users commenting on the photo of the display praised the ‘inclusivity’ shown by the shop
Mrs Allen said brides are ‘often nervous’, so all customers are given the whole boutique to themselves for two hours, meaning they can bring their friends and family and not ‘feel like they’re getting in the way or people are looking at them’.
Twitter users commenting on the photo of the display praised the ‘inclusivity’ shown by the shop.
One tweeted: ‘This is fab! If only more bridal shops showed this level of inclusivity.’
Another wrote: ‘Have to say, that dress looks fabulous with the chair, good to see them showcase how important it is that they make sure dresses look great for every client.’
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