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On the Importance of Representation

Posted by Courtney Ellis-Jones on

We are so excited to introduce our new blog feature here at Hornby & Jones. We will be inviting our wonderful customers to contribute to conversations, sharing their unique perspectives, comments and thoughts. Up first is Linsey Cripwell, mum to two including Dixie. Here she opens up about the realities of dressing a differently abled children.

I fell in love with organic clothing brands when Dixie was around two. Initially it was because she had eczema and I wanted something kinder to her skin. Dixie is seven now and it’s become so much more to us.


I still love getting caught up in the excitement of new brand launches or new drops. I love the buzz of waiting for sneak peeks and on release day finally getting to see a full collection. I love discovering new brands and hearing their story. I enjoy seeing the collections being modelled in real life so you can see how the items look or how they can be worn together.

But, alongside all of this there’s a tinge of sadness. None of these models are like Dixie. I see the clothing being worn by a beautiful child, stood in a studio or a scenic background. But my child can’t stand, walk or run. My child relies on four wheels to get them from A to B.

We have to be practical about the items we choose, using only our imagination to picture if they would work with a lap strap and harness.

I’d love to see retailers using a broader section of society as their brand reps. I can’t begin to tell you how included we would feel if we could see a child like ours in these stunning pictures.

It'd be wonderful to be able to ask a retailer or brand rep if the clothing item is stretchy enough to manoeuvre stiff and uncooperative limbs. Or if the piece could be accessible for her feeding tube and nappy changes. I'd ask whether there is too much material that could gather and tear in her wheels? And if it would work with a chunky bib? The list goes on.

I know there are a few brands and retailers that have tried for more inclusivity with what they sell, and how these clothes are modelled. And it’s really been quite life changing for a family like ours, when suddenly a popper vest can be bought for an older child or young adult. The downside is it’s all a bit dull. It’s pink, blue and white. It’s extremely limited and really gives me zero joy.

Id love to see the brands we wear thinking about ALL kids. We want the colour of Fresh Dinosaurs, the softness of Weekend House Kids and the funkiness of Mini Rodini just to name a few.

Although we mostly dress for comfort, the brands we buy for Dixie do really make me happy. I want her to stand out. She’s different and I want to embrace that. I want people to stare at her because she looks fabulous, not because she’s using a wheelchair

 

Linsey Cripwell, mama to two girls, and two furry rabbits, living in Leeds. Likes to blog at Dream Big For Dixie, opening up about the realities of parenting a child with a rare genetic condition.

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