Harriet Eccleston just made her mark at London Fashion Week. Here, she opens up about the importance of making fashion accessible to all.
By Genevieve Kyle.
The process of diversifying the runway has been lagging. While a wider range of sizes, shades, and gender representations are sluggishly crawling onto the catwalks, many brands are still missing the mark regarding accessibility. For 61 million disabled adults in the United States, catwalk representation and adaptive fashion—fashion designed for individuals with disabilities— are continually passed over. However, through the colorful designs displayed at London Fashion Week, British designer Harriet Eccleston is on a mission to change the fashion desert that many disabled folks are trying to navigate.
Eccleston debuted her Spring/Summer ’22 wheelchair-friendly collection in partnership with Faduma Farah for Faduma’s Fellowship, alongside former classmates and fashion diversity researchers Rebecca and Melissa Everett, who researched the lack of diversity in fashion. The pair identified the problems people face when wearing inadequate clothing, which Eccleston took on board “to find the starting point for the line.” Fashion-wise, the line contains fuchsia suits, silky blouses, and adaptive trench coats, taking “inspiration from ’80s power suit along with powerful womenswear looks,” according to Eccleston.
While Eccleston’s line has created an industry shift, a colossal change still needs to occur for adaptive fashion to break into the mainstream. Fashion’s lack of representation is something that Eccleston says “falls largely in the hands of designers, both in the way that clothes are designed and the way that shops are laid out.”
While brands work to diversify, Eccleston stresses the importance of “taking the time for conversations with people of all abilities to discover what they want.” Taking charge of fashion’s shift in accessibility, Eccleston is taking her time to “make accessible versions of my Harriet Eccleston pieces.” Expanding on her London Fashion week line to grow her brand, the designer is working to make fashion accessible to all.
Image credit: Harriet Eccleston