Companies across the world are increasingly recognising the importance of prioritising visibility for those living with disabilities. This representation is a huge step forward in creating a world that is truly accessible and inclusive for everyone, and it’s something that we hope will only become more prominent with time.
With this Friday – 3 December – being International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we thought this was the perfect time to spotlight some brands who are making a conscious effort to prioritise disability visibility.
Four brands prioritising disability visibility
1. TOMMY HILFIGER
Internationally-known clothing brand, Tommy Hilfiger, have come out with a range of adaptive clothing, designed to make getting dressed easier for everyone. The brand is committed to creating truly inclusive clothing that doesn’t compromise on style. And, with each new season they are making adjustments to the collection, taking on feedback from previous releases to constantly innovate and improve for the customers that need it.
The line includes the use of revolutionary fabrics, adjustable waists, hems, and straps, expanded back openings, bottoms tailored to wheelchair users, one-handed zippers, magnetic buttons, and more. With pieces designed for both adults and children, for those living with mobility issues, limited dexterity, missing limbs, and many more disabilities, the brand has gone the extra mile to ensure that the range is truly inclusive.
2. HERBAL ESSENCES
It can be easy to forget that something as ordinary as washing your hair can be infinitely more difficult for those who are visually impaired, so it’s great to see a haircare company as huge as Herbal Essences taking steps towards making this everyday task easier.
The company was the first mass haircare brand in North America to introduce tactile markings on their shampoo and conditioner bottles. Initially, the markings were implemented on one line of their products, but they have since been introduced across Herbal Essences’ entire shampoo and conditioner range.
And they’ve not stopped there. The brand has also teamed up with an app called Be My Eyes, to offer their visually impaired customers quick and direct support for any queries they might have regarding haircare or Herbal Essence products.
3. BENEFIT COSMETICS
In 2019, Benefit Cosmetics took on a new brand ambassador – Kate Grant, an Irish model with Down’s syndrome. This was a huge step forward in boosting visibility for Down’s syndrome and for those living with it, and the public reaction was testament to how much it meant to the community. Kate was already a famous face and an inspiration for other young people living with similar disabilities, but for her fans to see her partner with such a well-known and influential brand demonstrated to them that no dream is too big.
Benefit didn’t need to release a line or run a marketing campaign to demonstrate their efforts to be an inclusive brand. Instead, making Kate an ambassador for their products spoke volumes on their emphasis on inclusivity.
Starbucks opened some of the first sign language coffee shops in the world – with Washington D.C. and Japan being two locations – with all employees being fluent in both English and ASL (American Sign Language). The stores have been designed to be havens for customers that are deaf or hard of hearing – somewhere these customers can go to feel 100% comfortable, safe, and understood.
Deaf employees have bespoke aprons that spell ‘Starbucks’ in ASL, employees without hearing impairments wear pins to say ‘I sign’, and customers also have the option to use digital notepads to communicate with staff if they don’t sign – these are just some of the steps that the stores have taken to promote inclusivity.
Putting sign language and deaf visibility at the forefront of these stores goes a long way to removing the stigma that people with hearing impairments still sadly face.
Whether you know a little or a lot about what it means to be inclusive, now is the perfect time to learn. This Friday marks just one day in the life of someone living with a disability, but it’s a lifelong experience. We still have a way to go in making the world a truly inclusive place, but with mainstream brands like these taking steps to offer inclusivity for everyone, we’re on the way.
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