By Simon Sansome
37 years old and I love going out for a meal, I love going to weddings, I love going to parties, I love getting dressed up for award evenings however there is a limit on what I can wear not because my size but because of my disability.
Pic of Samanta Bullock
I am unable to do up buttons properly I’m unable to wear shirts properly because of my spinal damage as they limited movements and doing up trousers with one hand is almost impossible as I need both hands to transfer.
Jeans are impossible because of the stiffness and the difficulty of being a trouser bottoms up on the fly, so because of this I live my life in pyjama bottoms or I live my life in tracksuit bottoms because there are very limited or non-accessible clothing ranges in the UK.
I have the money, but shops just don’t want my custom. I have to get my clothes from Sports Direct because they are the only clothes I can pop up or down by myself without assistance. But, I look like I’m going down the gym every day when in fact I’m going round my sisters for dinner or going out to the cinema and I don’t like going to the cinema in a tracksuit, I’m not 16.
You may think that this is a small issue what affects most disabled people they either need assistance to put the close on or to take them off when clothes could be redesigned quite easily for disabled people are using simple things like magnets as a belt buckle or zips that is accessible or stretchy arms where I can move in a shirt and yet there is very limited clothing for anyone with a disability.
With 14 million people in the UK with a disability you would’ve thought that clothing companies including Tommy Hilfiger, Lee Cooper, Next, even Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s clothing ranges would’ve picked up on the fact that disabled people would like to look smart, would like to go out and enjoy ourselves looking right in the part, and yet we are restricted to what we can wear and where we can wear it.
Last week I would’ve loved to of wore a suit to the House of Lords however I ended up going in Marks & Spencer‘s jogging trousers and a T-shirt as I couldn’t manage a shirt or trousers myself.
It is time for fashion houses who lead the way in design to recognise disabled customers and alternative clothing for disabled people. Every week clothing stores are closing and the purple pound is very strong in the UK economy. Why has no business designed clothing suitable for disabled market? It is about time they did.