Monday, 19 November 2018

Let's chat...

So we need to talk about accessibility & diversity...

So as most of you know, last weekend was the annual Curve Fashion Festival in Liverpool. An event I attended last year and absolutely loved, so of course when the chance came to return this year, I jumped at the opportunity. However, during the event it became very clear there were serious issues with accessibility and I think it is very important to use this platform to address the situation in the hope it will be heard and the needed changes will be taken on board. 

The issue with accessibility is much wider than just CFF, but at an event which is exclusively for a marginalised community that preaches acceptance, it is paramount to pay attention to the needs of people with physical, hidden and mental disabilities. As someone with depression, someone who threw up that morning because my anxiety was sky rocketing, who has cared for someone who required portable oxygen & a wheel chair, I know that we just need to do better. 

The Plus Equals stall was at the very front of the Fashion Hall - I was the first stall you saw (glitter and sparkles aside of course) and because of this I didn't get an opportunity to go through the hall and see what was happening. The friends who were helping me spot my stall were telling me how busy it was, that it was packed out, how people couldn't move, the queues for meet and greets spilling out into the walkway. with disabled people being forced to sit, unable to move through the crowd. I could see how flushed people were and, judging by the amount I was sweating despite being at the front of the hall, how high the temperature was in the hall. If you weren't there, I urge you to read this article by Georgina Grogan @ She Might Be Loved and her experience as someone who uses a wheelchair. I would like to stress just how important it is that this story is heard from someones perspective who uses a chair, as it is all to easy for us able bodied folk to brush off these concerns.

Now, the reason I want to discuss this is because it is a wider issue. We, as a community, have a duty to elevate the voices of those who need to be heard. I know that the organisers did not do this with any intention of making life difficult for anyone, but I believe that all events need an adviser to assist with accessibility concerns. Legal compliance isn't necessarily accessible for everyone and that should be at the forefront of events organisation. 

Before I end this I want to raise one other point - diversity. Something I care deeply about and something I am even more committed to for 2019. I have yet to feature a disabled model in my campaigns, mainly because I struggle to find accessible locations, but that is something I am working on. I believe that, once again, as businesses, we have a responsibility to fairly represent our communities and I do not feel that we are driving that enough. It would have been great to see added panels featuring women of colour and black women, and more LGBT voices. Last years catwalk was one of the most diverse I have seen in mainstream, commercial fashion runway and it would be great to see that reflected in the talks next year. I have fed this back directly to the organisers and from what I have seen they have taken this on board but if you too would like to feed back to them then you can by clicking here.

I sincerely hope that the organisers openly receive all of the vital feedback they have been given, as they have done before, to make 2019 a huge, inclusive success. Plus Equals is always going to struggle to find a home, which is why I created this lane, but if it's not for every single body, then it's not for me. 

One final note to anyone who was unable to make a second round through the fashion hall: if there is something you have had your eye on and wanted to purchase with the TCFF special discount, please contact me with what you want, a picture/copy of your ticket and I will send you the 20% discount code which I was offering on the day.

Best wishes & fashion kisses, Jazmin x


1 comment

  1. Spot on Jazmin as always xoxo it was lovely to see you and you are right more does need to be done


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