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Jenna Lyons Designed an Orange Wheelchair

Jenna Lyons has been incredibly quiet these last few months. And I don’t blame her, she’s the Creative Director of a company that has gone through a round of massive layoffs.

It just seems a little odd to me that in her first interview in months, this is how she chooses to answer the question “Where do you see yourself in another 25 years?”

“Oh my God…I’ve got my wheelchair designed! It’s going to be powder-coated in neon orange.” ~Jenna Lyons

Let me get this straight. I have been petitioning a company for the last 2 years, asking them to sell a cane. A powder-coated purple cane. And the Creative Director of that company suddenly answers an open ended question by saying she has a wheelchair designed? And the defining feature is its color?

I’m starting to wonder if we’re finally getting through to them.

Please, if you haven’t already, take a moment to sign.

The Newly Competitive Wheelchair Jean Market

Retailers will be the first to tell you the jean and denim market is experiencing a steep decline in revenue. The main culprit? Athleisure. Retailers are scrambling, making quick decisions about whether to phase jeans out in favor of a product that contradictorily marries athletic and leisure wear. Some insiders worry an athleisure bubble is forming, that it’s nothing more than a trend. But it is a quick and effective revenue bolster. So what is a retailer to do? Perhaps the answer lies in the disability community.  Continue Reading →

Thank You Hillary Clinton!

On the 25th anniversary of the ADA, Hillary Clinton loaned her Twitter account to the mother of a disabled boy. Realizing how amazing this idea was, I reached out to Medium, asking if I could continue the conversation by sharing more #DisabilityStories through their Twitter account. I was shocked when Medium said yes. I spent an amazing day sharing #DisabilityStories to a massive audience. And then, to my utter amazement, Hillary Clinton tweeted about the experience.

To read the post that Hillary tweeted, check it out on Medium.

Thank You Hillary Clinton!

Continue Reading →

The ADA, Fashion & Disability on NPR

Update: J. Crew told NPR that they will not be selling a cane, as they are focusing on their ‘core business’. At this time, it seems we have a hard no. I will be responding to J. Crew on The Seams podcast, airing on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. I’m both heartbroken and more determined than ever. I do believe there is a mainstream retailer that can and will embrace their diverse and disabled customer base. If you’re that retailer, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Update: It just aired! I hope you will take a moment to check out “From Canes To Closures, Designing With Style For People With Disabilities“.

For the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a special report (featuring Yours Truly) will air on NPR on Saturday, July 25th. This will be followed by an extended look on The Seams podcast on Sunday, July 26th. Check out the Press Release below and don’t miss Weekend Edition with Scott Simon this coming Saturday, July 25th. Continue Reading →

I Got Punk’d By Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park is one of the best restaurants in the world. Their tasting menu was a bucket list dream for the three other members of my party. For me, it felt like church: something to dress up for and sit through while the adults around me worshipped, amen’d and told me to sit still. I am 33 years old and I eat like a child. I wasn’t initially invited, but when we realized they offered a vegetarian option, I got the fourth seat. You see, we were celebrating my partner’s 35th birthday as well as some other milestones for our friend who joined us. I didn’t want to miss out on this important celebration. Continue Reading →

Full Bottom Undies And Flat Bottom Shoes. Purposeful Products Can ‘Save’ Gap & J. Crew

Women are asking for their clothes to work for them. Historically it has been the other way around.

Recently, there have been a series of noteworthy stories on women’s clothing trends. When ‘J. Crew Struggles With Its Great Man Dilemma’ (about J. Crew’s recent struggles),  ‘Young Women Say No to Thongs‘ (about the millennial trend of wearing granny panties instead of thongs), or ‘Shoes That Put Women In Their Place’ (about the Cannes dress code of heels) are read individually, one can see the political nature, the sexual nature and the simple visual nature of the products women have historically chosen to wear. But when read in conjunction, a theme appears. These articles demonstrate how women are becoming less comfortable with ‘the role’ their garments are asking them to perform. The parallel that bridges the ’thong’, the ’heel’ and the ‘basic’ is bigger than a trend. It’s a change in lifestyle. Women want purposeful products. And the purpose these products must serve is shifting from performative to functional. Continue Reading →

Basketball Shorts Are Longer Than Football Pants

It’s true. Basketball shorts are officially longer than football pants. The difference is subtle, slightly less than half an inch. But I can’t help but think that the evolution is meaningful. That it could have an impact on my work. I’m someone who aims to find ways to decrease the stigma in assistive products (for people with differing abilities). Athletes clearly have differing (>) abilities. And I want the evolution of their basketball shorts and football pants to fascinate you… the stigma, the aesthetic, the function, the animalistic manliness. This is a perfect example of form meeting function, form interfering with function, and function interfering with form. Continue Reading →

One Year Later: Health Republic ACA Insurance Has Failed Me.

My name is Liz Jackson. I’m a 33 year old New Yorker. I have a chronic neuromuscular condition. And I have doctors. Lots of doctors. Who need to be paid. I am writing this post because I don’t know what to do to ensure my doctors will get paid. The issue is my health insurance. I selected Health Republic from the New York State marketplace. And they haven’t been living up to their end of the bargain. This post is a plea for help. Do you have resources? Do you have advice? Are you the Attorney General? My doctors have sacrificed so much for me. They need to be paid. And they deserve to know why they haven’t been.

Other things you may want to know. I’m smart. I’m resilient. I am well educated. I am persistent.  Seriously, I am PERSISTENT. I’m a vocal supporter of the Affordable Care Act. And a year ago, I wrote an enthusiastic and optimistic post titled 15 Days On The Obamacare Marketplace. Since then, I have failed to successfully navigate the Health Republic NY Silver plan I selected.

So if I, an intelligent 33 year old, educated adult with time and access cannot navigate the Affordable Care Act health insurance… who can?  Continue Reading →

She Wants Size 11 Bucketfeet For Her Size 11 Bucket Feet

UPDATE: OH MY GOD! WE DID IT!!!! 

BUCKETFEET WILL START SELLING WOMEN’S SIZE 11 SHOES AT THE END OF THE WEEK!!!!!

Kristen just received this message from BucketFeet!!!

Hi Kristen,

I just wanted to send you a quick update and let you know what we’re going to start carrying BucketFeet women’s size 11 in our new collection, which is launching at the end of this week – stay tuned!

Please let us know if we can help you with anything at all!

Best,
Kimberly

THANK YOU BUCKETFEET! Kristen and I are fans for life!  Continue Reading →

NYCSeatShare Is Not Alone: Tokyo’s Help Mark Badge

For the past year, I have been devising a plan to ensure that my friends with Invisible Disabilities have the same access to subway seats that I have (as someone with a not-so-Invisible disability). This brainstorming led to a concept for a NYCSeatShare badge. And so much has happened since originally posting the idea back in February.

And to my great excitement, this first followup post will introduce you to NYCSeatShare’s newfound friend! This red tag is called the Help Mark badge and it comes from an amazing and faraway land called Tokyo, Japan. Continue Reading →

YesJCrewCane: J. Crew Called!

If you’ve ever visited my blog, then you’re probably aware that I have invested a lot of time and energy pursuing J. Crew. Using the mantra YesJCrewCane, I have spent the past 16 months asking them if they would sell a cane. It has been my goal, from day one, to ease the stigma of assistive devices. J. Crew seemed like the perfect company (the only company) that would ‘get it’. So I started emailing them. And emailing them. And emailing them. Relentlessly.

But reaching out to J. Crew over the phone never seemed like a feasible option. First, I am not a phone talker. Second, do you know how strange it is calling a multi-billion dollar company, asking to speak to the CEO? Continue Reading →

A Sweet J. Crew Story

My friend Anne is an Optometrist. This profession requires she occasionally work on Saturdays. She just had the most wonderful run-in on the Subway with a J. Crew employee who was also heading to work. 

So many of you have asked me ‘Why J. Crew’? This is why. They are an aspirational company that hires wonderful people. I just want them to expand their brand to include everyBODY. I see the spirit of the brand.

I need to find this woman. I love her.

Post Traumatic Growth: The Best Diagnosis You’ll Receive All Day

Imagine the intro: Something traumatic and life changing happens. Then despite all odds the person rebounds; finding success, happiness and growth. That’s an inspirational story we have heard time and time again. But is it really against all odds? Is it inspirational? Or is it human? And what if it happens more than we realize? Continue Reading →

On Fashion, Down Syndrome & the Varsity Letter

I told myself I wasn’t going to comment on this story. But it’s time.

Michael Kelley Down Syndrome

Michael Kelley is a high school student who participated throughout the basketball season for the East High Aces in Wichita, Kansas. At the end of the season, his mother purchased a varsity letter for his letterman jacket. And he proudly wore it. He wore it until he was asked by the school to remove the letter… because the letter was official and his status on the basketball team was not. Continue Reading →

Takafumi Tsuruta: Not Bound by the Convention of Disability

I have written fairly critically about the new trend of fashion designers hiring runway models with disabilities. The media has been quick to embrace the ‘inspiring’ inclusion of more culturally diverse models, but I am someone who has found the entire trend cringeworthy. As my passion is finding ways to ease the stigma of assistive devices, I feel the need to point out that none of the designers who are hiring models with disabilities actually make or market a product for someone with a disability.

So you can color me unimpressed when I read this headline: Continue Reading →