The White Collection Bridal Boutique shop window image
Credit: Twitter/Beth Wilson

The White Collection Bridal Boutique in Bristol has recently gained a lot of attention and received a flood of positive comments on social media for displaying a mannequin dressed in a wedding gown and seated in a wheelchair in its shop window.

Beth Wilson, who has a disability, shared a photo of the display on Twitter while passing the store.

On her post, she wrote: “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.”

The tweet gained a lot of traction, with many people similarly noting that the promotion of disability in a shop window should not be an exceptional circumstance and that other stores should follow suit.

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For example, one user on Twitter called VintageWeddingPhotos (@VintageWPhotos), replied: “This is fab! If only more bridal shops showed this level of inclusivity.”

Beth had told Cosmopolitan: “It was so surprising to see and made me feel represented.

“So often, disabled people feel invisible because we don’t see ourselves in the media much, and especially not modeling beautiful clothes.

“Mobility aids are often portrayed as negative things that people want to hide, when actual mobility aids like wheelchairs give us freedom. It’s great that they decorated the chair rather than try and hide it away.”

Laura Allen, Owner of The White Collection Bridal Boutique, told the newspaper: “We are thrilled that our window has been getting such a positive response. Our thoughts of having one of [the mannequins] in a wheelchair was ‘why not?’ And we didn’t really think too much about it.

“We haven’t shared any images of the window or spoken about it at all, but the window seems to have spoken for itself! We have loved the positive comments from passersby and hope it means other retail outlets follow suit.”

Disability has been gaining far more national attention recently, highlighting a greater need for accessibility and inclusivity for disabled people, especially in retail. On the 13th of November 2018, the UK held it’s first ever disabled shopping day – Purple Tuesday – so that retailers could make their stores more accessible for disabled people.

In October 2018, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care also announced a £4.2 million fund to help get disabled people into work and tackle the disability employment gap.

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