A bridal shop in England is garnering a lot of praise for displaying one of its wedding dresses on a mannequin seated in a wheelchair. A photo of the exhibit at The White Collection in Portishead, near Bristol, went viral after being shared by disabled artist Beth Wilson.
“The new wedding shop in town has a wheelchair using mannequin and it shouldn’t be exciting but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window,” Wilson posted on the micro-blogging site. The 36-year-old artist, who has used a wheelchair for the past five years, said the display made her feel represented.
I went and met Sarah @TheWhiteCollect and we had a great chat about how surreal it is to go viral online.
Here’s hoping more shops start including disabled people :D pic.twitter.com/7OW4I2y5P9
— Beth Wilson (@doodlebeth) January 11, 2019
Laura Allen, who owns the shop along with her sister Sarah Parker, however, expressed sadness that it was that rare a sight for the disabled and said “they didn’t think much about it” when they had first set the window display.
“It’s been great having such a positive response, but in a way it’s quite sad people have done a double take, it shows how rare it is to see a wheelchair in a shop window,” she was quoted as saying by news agencies.
“It would be nice one day for people to double take just because they like the dress,” she added.
Allen also said that she did not believe they were the first to represent disability in this manner and hoped that other shops followed suit. “It’s an industry that’s well known for not being inclusive, a lot of bridal shops you go past you see the standard skinny mannequin,” she said.
“But everyone gets married, it doesn’t matter what you look like or how you are, your day is going to be special,” she added.
Mrs Wilson said, “I don’t need a wedding dress, but if I did, I’d definitely be far happier about going to a shop where I knew that I’d be accepted, wheelchair and all.”
“So often disabled people feel invisible because we don’t see ourselves in the media… especially not modelling beautiful clothes,” Mrs Wilson said.
She later tweeted, “Here’s hoping more shops start including disabled people.”
Here are some of the reactions from Twitter users:
— Alaina Leary (@alainaskeys) January 11, 2019
As someone who got married in a wheelchair, this is so wonderful to see ?? https://t.co/6RypJcnOuF
— Billie (@Billie_McP) January 11, 2019
— Hot (@Thehotwatt) January 10, 2019
This image is gorgeous! Congrats! ?????????
— Shredded like a Banksy (@twinski) January 10, 2019
Have to say, that dress looks fabulous with the chair, good to see them showcase how important it is that they make sure dresses look great for every client.
— BoukeSB (@bosyber) January 9, 2019
This is fab! If only more bridal shops showed this level of inclusivity
— VintageWeddingPhotos (@VintageWPhotos) January 9, 2019