A bridal shop in Portishead, England, earned praise for its commitment to inclusivity, thanks to a window display featuring a mannequin in a bridal gown while sitting in a wheelchair. Beth Wilson, who is disabled, spotted the display at the bridal boutique, The White Collection, and took to Twitter to commend the shop for taking a step toward normalizing disabilities.
“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,” she wrote alongside a photo of the display.
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. pic.twitter.com/N5sco2fLJf
— Beth Wilson (@doodlebeth) January 9, 2019
People took notice, and her tweet has earned thousands of retweets since Jan. 9. People from all over chimed in to express their appreciation for the inclusive display, including disabled women sharing their experiences and photos of their own wedding days.
“This is the first time I’ve seen a wheelchair in a shop window like this (mobility shops not included) and it was so surprising to see and made me feel represented,” Wilson told Cosmopolitan. “So often disabled people feel invisible because we don’t see ourselves in the media much, and especially not modeling beautiful clothes. The reaction on Twitter has shown that it means a lot to other people, too.”
The boutique workers felt both surprised and delighted by the attention their display received.
“For this season we wanted to strip it right back and have a mannequin in each window,” Laura Allen, the boutique’s owner, explained to Today Style. “Our thoughts of having one of them in a wheelchair was, ‘Why not?’ And we didn’t really think too much about it.”
They hope that inclusivity will become more commonplace in the bridal and fashion industries.
“We love the fact that it’s so simple compared to our window display before, yet it portrays such a powerful message of inclusion,” she said. “We certainly didn’t expect [it] to get the attention that it has, but we have loved the positive comments from passersby and hope it means that one day things like this are just the norm.”