Can Disability be Fashionable? YesJCrewCane

Posted on July 22, 2014

Dear J. Crew,

Have you noticed that YesJCrewCane has been picking up steam these last few weeks? There was an article in BUST and an article in Buzzfeed. There are more than 1k signatures and there’s more to come. It’s hard to convey how exciting it is that the fashion of inclusion may one day become a reality. I believe our perceptions of disability will change within my lifetime. And I’m determined to play a part in speeding up the process.

Mesh Shirt Purple Cane

It was difficult to walk away from my computer this past week. But my partner booked a last minute trip for her birthday. So off to Northern Italy we went. Unfortunately our luggage never made it. With limited options and money, we made do by hitting up a few clearance racks at the Milano Centrale. We also relied on our senses of humor (yes, the shirt above is mesh).

Purple Cane Lost Luggage

But I felt angry. Angry at the loss in control over my carefully acquired possessions. Angry for my missing identity. I suppose this experience has given me appreciation for the position I am putting you in. I acknowledge that I am trying to take something out of your control. I understand the complex feelings this may evoke. Our personal identities are our very own brands. It’s the way we present ourselves to the world. It tells others who we are. Disability forces many of us to alter our identities. And I believe allowing disability to alter your brand will give you appreciation for the position disabled (differently abled and differently bodied) people are put in.

Side Note: Many Little People do not see themselves as disabled. Many do. I don’t know if Peter Dinklage sees himself as disabled or able bodied (as a Game of Thrones fan, I personally see him as SuperHuman). I included him in this post because of this sentence in Esquire: “When you’re of Peter Dinklage’s stature, it can be difficult to find tailored clothing”.

Anyway, recently a few companies have begun to dip their toes in the frigid waters of beauty in disability. The purpose of this post is to show how their decisions have been celebrated by consumers and by the press. It’s also worth noting that while they are ‘showing’ it, they’re still not selling it. You, my beloved J. Crew, can be the first.

I am sure there are many glaring omissions to this list, but it’s just a start. Please let me know if you come up with another example.

Thank you for your time.

Liz Jackson

P.S. I’d love to know more of what you’re thinking… or in the words of Bastille:

P.P.S. Sign #YesJCrewCane? Let’s get 2k!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Lindsay July 23, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Hi Liz! I met you and Megan at the train station in Monterosso. I read through a few of your posts and find them quite funny and thoroughly entertaining! Keep up the good work! Did you guys get back your luggage??

    • The Girl with the Purple Cane July 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Lindsay, I was hoping you would reach out! It was very nice meeting you and your Mom. We still haven’t received our luggage. It should arrive in NYC today (we hope!). I hope you’ll keep reading! And if you ever need a train ticket in a foreign city, we’re here for you guys.

  2. Dyzzy July 24, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    I heard you today through Doctor Radio and I was amazed on how true the stigma of using assitive devices exists. I am a nurse practitioner and most of my patients do not want to use any assistive devices such as walker or cane because of so many reasons…. I am hoping that health care companies / J. Crew company can produce some fashionable canes for my patients…

    • The Girl with the Purple Cane July 25, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I often think about how much easier it would make the jobs of medical professionals to have this stigma reduced. The Institute of Medicine found that abandonment of assistive devices decreases exponentially when the patient chooses from options rather than the single prescribed device that insurance often offers. Imagine how much fun medical professionals can have when prescribing a device that fits the patients life and style…

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