Inclusive Fashion, What is it and why should we care?

Kimberly Coleman

Inclusive Fashion. It’s like the fashion world’s version of an over played song on the radio; you can’t help but have heard of it. There’s a huge amount of talking about it, reporting on it, brands claiming they’re doing it, brands trying to do it, industry shows scrambling to prioritize it, social outrage at the lack of it, money being thrown at it, and customers wanting it. However, a quick search of the Internet reveals there is currently no definition of ‘Inclusive Fashion”; or even a general consensus on what it is.

I have a  particular interest in this topic. As Australia’s first blind fashion designer and the founder of Blind Grit – seemingly the world’s first fashion label built entirely of and around those who live with disability,  I know what I believe ‘Inclusive Fashion’ is, and why I care deeply that we, as an industry,  get it collectively correct. Although I am clearly coming from a disability perspective, I feel my overarching ideology is more around the powerfully innovative potential of diversity.

Fashion is arguably our most powerful social communicator of what is alluring. Fashion has always been at the forefront of social inclusion movements; bestowing acceptance and prestige on cultures and sexualities that were previously vilified.

Fashion overtly prescribes what’s desirable, and by omission, what’s not. So, human nature means many desperately want to see ourselves reflected in this Almighty Mirror Of Social Value.

Late last year, I was lucky enough to be asked to join a panel of Adaptive Fashion leaders from around the world, at the ……..

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Nikki Hind is a social entrepreneur and Australia's first legally blind fashion designer, with a background in PR, Communications and Event Management. Nikki is a champion for others in the disability sector and gentle disrupter. Overcoming trauma and PTSD, Nikki credits her survival to her two beautiful sons and her love of fashion design. The catalyst for design was a determined desire to find a new way of expressing the best of herself through her work, after being left permanently legally blind by a stroke, at the same time as becoming a mother for the first time. Nikki is the founder of Blind Grit, creating athleisure wear, and based on a business model that is built entirely of & around those who live with disability & survive trauma. All the aspirational, fun, dream jobs that sit behind the creation of a fashion label. Nikki's first collection was on the catwalk at the ground breaking Access to Fashion event for Melbourne Fashion Week 2018, and Nikki was invited back to the opening of Melbourne Fashion Week 2019. Blind Grit is currently working on an exciting new line. Nikki is a firm believer that having a dream can help people move past trauma, and give a renewed purpose for life.