Disabled people are the largest minority by population and the only minority you can join at any moment, yet we have some of the least representation, especially within the fashion industry.
Representation matters for a million reasons; It matters, because in my personal life when I had a nasal feeding tube, a child in hospital was overjoyed they could go and tell their friends they could be adults too. They had never seen an adult with a feeding tube so assumed they didn’t get to be one. It matters because, as a wheelchair user, it’s impossible to see how something will fit if it’s only modelled on people standing up. Similar issues arise if you have medical devices, trying to guess where clothes will sit around them.
The lack of representation makes shopping infinitely more challenging than it needs to be and not that fun at all. In general, it involves ordering multiple sizes and styles hoping at least one of them will work. Especially as for a lot of the disabled community going into shops is challenging at best, impossible at worst, so we rely heavily on product photos. The disabled community has been asking brands to include us for years, even in the simplest way of having an abled bodied model sitting on a seat. Most brands either totally ignore the suggestion or make promises they don’t keep.
Then there are brands like Molke. For the first time since becoming a wheelchair user and the owner of multiple medical devices I saw people who looked like me in adverts and it was incredible. I’ve subsequently been lucky enough to be one of those models showing how important representation is. Representation is telling the disabled community (and every other community) that their body is worthy, valued and just as important as everyone else’s. From personal experience, I know that photos with feeding tube and ostomy representation are regularly shared within support groups and help people adjust to life changing surgeries.
Molke and other inclusive brands allow me to feel more confident in my own body, allow me to see how clothes fit when I’m sitting in my wheelchair, and to buy clothes that suit my personal style whilst knowing they will fit me.