Fashion news

British Vogue showcases disabled trailblazers

two covers of the May issue of British Vogue with one featuring Selma Blair

The May issue of British Vogue magazine features four portraits of disabled activists in the hope the covers will spark conversations around disability, media and society.

Trailblazers featured in the special edition sees interviews with activist Sinéad Burke, sign language performer Justina Miles as well as models Aaron Rose Phillip and Ellie Goldstein.

The articles raise awareness on how the fashion industry can become more inclusive in a sector which often shuns disabled people.

Inside the publication editor Edward Enniful introduces the magazine in his opening letter which reads: "Making this issue was a necessary and overdue education for all — and taught us many lessons we will carry forward into the future.

"Ultimately, these covers and portfolio ask a question: we all engage with fashion, but does fashion engage with all of us?"

Put together in conjunction with Burke’s accessibility consultancy, Tilting the Lens, the issue feature 19 disabled high-profile names from the world of fashion, the arts, sport and activism including racing driver Nicolas Hamilton, who has cerebral palsy and the team at Trifle Studio, a London-based collective of artists with learning disabilities.

"Dynamism of spirit, of talent, of imagination, is what the stars of this issue have in spades," continued Enninful. "It is this quality that the industry — and here I include Vogue — must also lean into if it is to better serve the disabled community, alongside the disabled community; with jobs, in the design of retail spaces, of photography studios, of digital interfaces, events, communications and, of course, clothes."

There is also a braille version of the magazine put together by the Royal National Institute of Blind People for readers with vision loss on sale from May 5.

Alongside compiling the issue Enninful improved the facilities at the magazine’s London photo studio by reviewing its lift and ramp access, introduced alt text on its website and social media and improved audio description in its videos.

Burke said: "With its cultural relevance, highlighting and honouring the disabled community in the pages of British Vogue creates a call to action for the much-needed change in other parts of the fashion industry, and beyond.

"Accessibility and disability inclusion are everyone's responsibility and opportunity — this is a movement, not a moment."

The four British Vogue covers featuring Sinéad Burke, Justina Miles, Aaron Rose Phillip and Ellie Goldstein.

[ The May issue of British Vogue is on sale now ]

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