Online retailer ASOS praised for using earring model with cochlear implant

Jessica Carvalho explores the brand’s most recent step towards inclusivity, and how the industry is actively taking strides in the right direction. 

ASOS has been the brand to watch over the last two days as customers take to social media to praise the retailer for including a model who wears a cochlear implant in an earring photoshoot. Natasha Ghouri, the model, was photographed in ASOS’s £5 hoop earrings, perfectly capturing her cochlear implant. The device is surgically implanted to provide the user with a modified sense of sound, and Twitter users, some of which had cochlear implants themselves, were “delighted” with the “representation”. 

Upon witnessing the outpour of love on social media, Natasha tweeted “That’s me! Also just for confusion – this is a cochlear implant which is more advanced than hearing aids […] proving out there that no matter what disability you’ve got.. you can do it.”.

Representation in fashion is something that is quickly becoming more frequent, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t certain humps to get over still. Some brands play a very safe game and dabble in inclusivity via different body types, different features and different skin colour. However, there are still many areas left untouched, disabilities, in particular. 

The World Health Organization states that 15% of all people suffer from a form of disability, making this the largest minority community in the world, yet the one that is most often excluded from essential conversations.

Change is visible on the horizon, as more brands open up these spaces by casting models with visible and non-visible disabilities in their campaigns. For example, shoe brand Kurt Geiger has recently kickstarted the “People Empowered” campaign, which will feature 15 “disability activists and organisation leaders”. The first was Bernadette Hagans, an Irish leg amputee and cancer survivor whose story has been published on Kurt Geiger’s website. 

In essence, the means for change lie before us all – brands and customers alike – it’s up to us to head in the correct direction.

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