Women and men with impairments of all kinds have long been fashion’s most overlooked demographic, as well as, in my opinion, its greatest squandered opportunity. Though the entertainment industry has made significant strides in identifying and attempting to rectify many of its own shortcomings, such as a history of racism, sizeism, and ageism, it continues to fall short when it comes to accommodating people with disabilities. Far while there were a few models in wheelchairs on certain runways last season, this season’s models will be even more diverse.
Given that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four individuals in the United States lives with a handicap, this seems not just inappropriate, but downright stupid. After all, those millions of individuals spend their money on clothing. And, as my activist friend Sinéad Burke often reminds out, they want and deserve to dress in clothing that reflect their individuality and ideals while also making them feel good about themselves.
As a result, I’ve come to see you. It should not be necessary for a customer to spend hours researching the material composition of a garment before being able to make an informed choice about whether or not to purchase it. However, for some who suffer from skin diseases such as textile contact dermatitis (the medical term for skin responses to fabric), this is just a fact of life.
And my opinion is that sometime within those hours, the vast majority of individuals quit up and opt not to purchase anything at all. Even if you can figure out what material a garment is made of, you will virtually never be able to find out what chemical treatments were employed during the manufacturing process, and it is often the residue of those chemicals that creates the difficulties. As a consequence, no one has anything to gain from the scenario. Despite this, it continues.
A little amount of the legwork has been done for you by certifying authorities in certain circumstances.
However, as you point out, many certified organic items are either very basic, in part due to the fact that “short staple cotton does not have natural elasticity,” as Maxine put it, or quite pricey, which makes them a difficult sell. (If you are prepared to make a significant financial commitment, La Double J is a terrific place to begin.)
The good news is that there is a wardrobe hack that can be used to solve the problem.
First and foremost, invest in a well-made cotton garment that feels comfortable on your skin. Maxine recommends that you have a look at Doen, which has some lovely floral block-print dresses. Livia Firth, the originator of the Green Carpet Challenge and the consultancy Eco-Age, prefers the British brands Kitri and KowTow, both of which are manufactured in New Zealand.
You should then think of your dress as a blank slate for your accessories, which should include: a pair of statement shoes (preferably in leather); a great belt (think Michelle Obama and her wide corset belts — Lyst has a great selection); a chic bag (also in leather); and some attention-getting jewellery. After all, it is far simpler (and less expensive) to maintain accessories up to current than it is to keep clothes up to date.