This issue, London Runway has teamed up with Samanta Bullock’s #SBChallenge to present a series of magazine covers starring disabled models. Rhiannon D’Averc explains more…
Disabled people only appear in 0.1% of fashion communications.
This was the starting point for the #SBChallenge, set up in response to the #Voguechallenge that flew around social media, prompting users to post an image of themselves mocked up as a Vogue cover.
More than 1000 posts have already been submitted via the hashtag, showcasing the fact that those who don’t often see themselves in the media are craving representation. The challenge is not just about posting the images – it’s part of a wider campaign designed to raise awareness of the fact that disabled people are hugely underrepresented compared to their percentage of the population.
How meaningful can this be, to see yourself represented at last? For some, it can have a life-changing effect, helping to boost self-confidence and serving as a reminder that you are not alone.
Another aim of the project is to push forward the slow process of changing the levels of inclusivity offered in the fashion world. Most fashion brands, whether they are high street or couture, don’t consider the disabled customer when creating their lines – which is a shame both for the consumer and the company, because this is a huge sector of the buying market being overlooked.
Inclusive clothes don’t have to be made specifically for wheelchair users, or those with other physical impairments or challenges. In fact, they can look like perfectly ‘normal’ clothes – but their design includes thought towards those who may have different needs. For example, imagine a coat which unzips at the side to allow coverage of the legs when seated, then zips up for a more streamlined silhouette when standing – making it easy to wear for those in wheelchairs as well as being an everyday fashionable item. By the way, you don’t have to imagine it – Gunda Hafner’s Woven Check Coat already exists, and is available from Samanta Bullock’s online store.
Inclusivity and diversity are key goals for us here at London Runway, so when we heard about the #SBChallenge, we knew we had to get involved in some way. We liaised with the organisers of the hashtag and brought together some of our favourite cover models who had previously posted on the tag, in order to share them here with you. You can view those over the next few pages!
If you represent a brand or charity and would like to get involved with this project, then be sure to visit samantabullock.com/join-thesbchallenge. As for those who want to see themselves on a magazine cover, head to Instagram and use the hashtag #SBchallenge when sharing your post! We’ve posted up a Canva template version of our cover that you can download to use if you’d like to be on our cover. Find it at londonrunway.co.uk/sbchallenge!