British Vogue will strike a blow for equality when it publishes a landmark issue with disabled talents as its cover stars in May.
The ‘Reframing Fashion’ issue features writer and disability activist Sinéad Burke, actress Selma Blair, models Aaron Rose Philip and Ellie Goldstein and ASL performer Justina Miles across a series of covers.
Inside the issue, which highlights how the fashion industry can be more inclusive and adapt to better support the disabled community, there are profiles of 19 stars with disabilities from across fashion, sport, the arts, and activism – representing some of the 16 million disabled people living in the United Kingdom.
“[Producing this issue] was a necessary and overdue education for all – and taught us many lessons we will carry forward into the future,” said Edward Enninful OBE, editor-in-chief of British Vogue and Vogue European editorial director. “Ultimately, these covers and portfolio ask a question: we all engage with fashion, but does fashion engage with all of us?
“Dynamism of spirit, of talent, of imagination, is what the stars of this issue have in spades. It is this quality that the industry – and here I include Vogue – must also lean into if it is to better serve the Disabled community, alongside the disabled community, with jobs, in the design of retail spaces, of photography studios, of digital interfaces, events, communications and, of course, clothes.”
In putting together the May issue, British Vogue worked closely with accessibility consultancy Tilting the Lens, and its CEO Sinéad Burke.
“With its cultural relevance, highlighting and honouring the disabled community in the pages of British Vogue creates a call to action for the much-needed change in other parts of the fashion industry, and beyond,” said Burke. “Accessibility and disability inclusion are everyone’s responsibility and opportunity – this is a movement, not a moment.”
Tilting the Lens helped British Vogue explore how the magazine could be more accessible. This included a review of facilities at photo studios in London (like lift and ramp access), the inclusion of alt text features on site and social media, and improved audio description in videos. British Vogue will retain these changes for future issues and releases.
British Vogue has also collaborated with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to produce a digital and audio Braille version of the May issue, which will be available from 5 May.
See the full feature in the May issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday 25th April. Cover photography by Adama Jalloh.