Culture Night is tomorrow, here are some of the events you can still attend
Culture Night is tomorrow, here are some of the events you can still attend

Megan Burns

10 brilliant films and TV shows we can’t WAIT for this Autumn
10 brilliant films and TV shows we can’t WAIT for this Autumn

Jennifer McShane

Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15
Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15

Holly O'Neill

Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it in your home
Dulux have revealed their colour of the year for 2022, here’s how to use it...

Megan Burns

With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on the market for €2.35 million
With unbroken sea views and an outdoor Jacuzzi, this architectural home in Kinsale is on...

Lauren Heskin

Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club
Liane Moriarty has a new mystery book for your book club

Holly O'Neill

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make Time 100 Most Influential People list

Holly O'Neill

Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread
Meet five Irish embroiderers doing amazing things with needle and thread

Megan Burns

Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper
Saying you are a ‘stay-at-home-mum’ is the ultimate conversation stopper

Amanda Cassidy

The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every day
The Hygiene Bank’s Sorcha Killian on hygiene poverty and how it’s impacting Irish families every...

Shayna Sappington

Image / Fashion

Here’s an important lesson on inclusivity from American Eagle


by Niamh ODonoghue
11th Jul 2018
blank

Last week, our resident Love Island and disability advocate Louise Bruton wrote a piece that made me stop in my tracks. As a wheelchair user, she sees the world in an extraordinarily different light. As a non-wheelchair user, it’s easy for me to take for granted daily tasks that people with limited mobility find difficult (stepping onto a path, shopping for trend-driven fashion, dating etc). If I was ever to become wheelchair-bound, I think with time I could learn to cope with transport and the general difficulties that come with being disabled in Ireland. I would adapt. What I would struggle with is creating my own identity through fashion, simply because the lack of choice available. Louise’s piece struck a chord with me because she has had to compromise her personal style for comfort and form for much of her life. Thankfully, more brands are actively listening to what women – of all abilities, not just able-bodied and disabled – need from their wardrobe and there is a real change on the horizon for the entire fashion industry.

It pushed me into action to try and find brands suitable for all wearers and today, as though Bill Gates himself is listening to me, the internet provided. American brand American Eagle – remember them? The sister brand to Abercrombie And Fitch? – is doing what more brands should be by offering inclusive ranges that are actually suitable for all women. And I mean all women. The brand’s collection features not just a wheelchair user, but a hard-of-hearing woman, a woman with vitiligo, a woman with scars and type 1 diabetes, a woman with Down Syndrome, women with and without hair, and even a woman with a colostomy bag. Inclusivity is about encompassing and including all types of humanity, and American Eagle is doing it with an attitude that’s hard to ignore.

The Aerie boho lace bra, €17.05, featuring a model wheelchair user

The Aerie boho lace bra, €17.05, featuring a model wheelchair user. Source www.ae.com

Aerie boho bandeau, €17.05 Source www.ae.com

Aerie boho bandeau, €17.05 Source www.ae.com

What’s even more important about this otherwise ordinary collection is that intimates are often the forgotten-about necessity. Is there anything more uncomfortable than sitting down all day in underwear that isn’t comfortable or doesn’t fit as it should? As someone with an invisible disability, I understand and sympathise with other women who can’t find the right intimates. I have a scar on my right ribcage from constantly wearing ill-fitting bras that, although they make my chest look nice, they are incredibly uncomfortable to wear. Finding a bra that is suited to my lifestyle and shape is important, but feeling sexy when my clothes come off is equally important. These women – who all carry scars in some shape or form – wear their intimates with radiating confidence and they look genuinely happy and very real (and comfortable!). In 2014, the brand publically banned the use of airbrushing on all of their campaigns resulting in a 20% increase in profits and a flood of media positivity. So hello fashion industry – why aren’t more brands taking the same direction?

Real sunnie lightly wired bra, €25.57. Source www.ae.com

Real sunnie lightly wired bra, €25.57. Source www.ae.com

 

Real me full coverage lightly lined bra, €25.57. Sourced at www.ae.com

Real me full coverage lightly lined bra, €25.57. Sourced at www.ae.com

Yes, change is imminent. This isn’t inspirational, click-bait-porn kind of change, but actual awareness and social awareness of what women (and men) need from clothing and lifestyle brands. It shouldn’t come as a shock or be a major talking point in 2018, the year of inclusivity, that a brand has created a product suitable for everyone, but it does. But with more extraordinary women like Sinéad Burke, who is working with the likes of Burberry to make the fashion industry more inclusive, and Canadian designer Izzy Camilleri’s “perfect fit” IZ Adaptive clothing line, the future looks incredibly bright.

To normalize what isn’t seen as “normal”, we have to keep having these conversations; we forget the very real power of words to incite action. AE has cleverly created a product that works for every woman. What’s more, the brand has achieved it in an under-the-radar kind of way, which is a fresh approach to an overly saturated market of do-gooders. Kudos to AE, it’s worth keeping a close eye on them.

Also Read

blank
FASHION, BEAUTY, SHOPPING
From Chanel to Hailey Bieber, this candy hue is taking over

Bust a mauve.All things Nineties to Noughties have returned from bucket hats to Alexa Chung’s Mulberry bag and powdery lilac...

By Holly O'Neill

Met Gala outfits
FASHION
Let’s tax the uninventive Met Gala outfits instead

If I were Anna Wintour, I would simply no longer invite anyone who didn’t stick to my Met Gala theme.The...

By Holly O'Neill

blank
FASHION
Happy birthday Iris Apfel! A throwback to when Iris met IMAGE

Today marks the 100 birthday of New York fashion legend Iris Apfel. The nonagenarian has had a long, varied and...

By Erin Lindsay

Georgiana Huddart
premium FASHION
How to revive a heritage brand, and create cute swimwear to coordinate with your kids

Georgiana Huddart revived heritage brand Hunza G with huge success, and we’re guessing the children’s range is headed in the...

By Sarah Macken

blank
FASHION
4 comfy yet chic outfit ideas for this 2021 outdoor summer

Are you really squeezing into high-waisted jeans and a bodysuit now that life has returned to semi-normality? Definitely not. But...

By Edaein OConnell

outfit
FASHION, OFF THE CUFF, WEDDINGS
How to pull off the Absolute Right Outfit for a wedding

For all the celebrated loveliness of a wedding, getting dressed for the occasion can be anything but. From the autumn...

By IMAGE

jewellery
FASHION, SHOPPING
10 IMAGE staffers on the everyday jewellery they never take off

A dependable piece of jewellery is just as essential a backbone in your wardrobe as great jeans or a classic white shirt. Team IMAGE all have an everyday quintessential piece they don't leave the house without.

By Holly O'Neill