Fashion Disabled in a World Fashion Capital

We're just back from a really nice trip to England. What a great place to go if you have mobility issues: they have made a wonderful effort to make as many things as accessible as possible, which is, no question, a challenge when a lot of public buildings are ancient. It's not perfect, of course, but most places that I wanted to go were accessible to me on my wheels. The best part, though, is the disability sensitivity and awareness of the very kind people who we seemed to meet everywhere we went.

One memorable experience was at the Royal Albert Hall, a magnificent Victorian concert/event hall, where there was a concert that we wanted to go to. I can walk short distances, but I called the accessibility office about two relatively minor problems: I needed to find end-row seats that didn't involve a lot of sidestepping (which is a difficult move for me) and to make sure that there would be a place to park my wheels. Those were minor problems, solved easily. When it came time to give the payment information, I was gobsmacked (as the Brits say) to be offered a regular price seat and one "carer's" seat ... at no charge. Despite my protesting that my husband is not my carer, because I am not that disabled, they refused to charge me for his ticket. How very kind, thoughtful and generous! And when we attended the concert, kind, thoughtful and generous was the reception which we got at every turn. It was a wonderful concert, and a truly memorable experience!

The funny experience was at The Imperial War Museum. We arrived there on the day that they were having the VE Day celebration. It was wonderful: there were not only veterans (not many, but it was still nice to see that there were still a few) but there were also re-enactors in period uniforms and costume. Powerful! I wanted to go to the "Fashion on the Ration" exhibition, which was about clothing during the war. When I went to buy my ticket, it was the same thing: one ticket and one "carer's" ticket. Again I protested, but the charming man at the desk insisted with a big smile. That was good, but even better was the ticket itself: in large bold letters, it said "Ticket Type: FASHION DISABLED". When I gave it to the usher at the door of the exhibition, I commented that, in my case, the description was entirely appropriate. That was a LOL moment for all of us. The exhibition was excellent, but the joke was better.
And really, in a way, the description is so apt. Riding my scooter, wearing scooter-comfortable stretch fabrics and waistbands and my big black orthopaedic boots, looking presentable is something of a challenge, let alone trying to be anything near fashionable. So I guess that's me: Fashion Disabled. Thanks again, PsA. But seriously, I wish I could that all of the people who we met who were so warm, welcoming and helpful during our travels. There were so many, and if they only knew the difference that their smiles and and offers of help made for someone who finds it hard to get around!

I love that you had a such a great accessibility, concert and exhibition experience in London. More than that, though, your sense of humour never stops and between you and The IWM you have coined an entirely new phrase which I just know will catch on: 'fashion disabled'.

Love it, love it, love it ..... it will perfectly describe all the times where my PsA forces me to wear the 'wrong' coloured shoes with an outfit (a crime for which the fashion police would previously have arrested me) or my heavy, clompy shoes are in total contradiction to the delicate floaty fabrics of my attire. Fashion disabled, that is me too!

Yup fashion disabled, Love it. Sometimes it works to ones advantage however. The Mrs. Lamb just dropped off with my secretary a "package" In it were 3 new packages of underpants. I think its my first new underwear since my mom passed 12 years ago. (Fortunately she had me with a more than ample supply)

I had a small catastrophe doing my stretches this AM as my pants fell down. I'm sort of in the in between state. I lost 26 pounds over the last few months My six pack is still a pony keg so I really don't have a place to cinch my britches yet. I hate to invest in a new pants and belt until I know where this thing ends. I'm not ready for suspenders.....

On the package was a note "In case they drop again, your mother would be proud"

Lol. Your Mom would be proud!
So to hat’s three names for the official register of The Fasion Disabled

I was so glad when you came back, but happy for you also that you had such a wonderful trip! Hmmmm, no offense to any other Americans, because I'm one myself, but it sounds like the Brits are much nicer than us! Although, people are kind and hold doors and assist people in need and whatnot--but I've NEVER seen a free ticket anywhere for any disabled people! (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!) Even at our university the disabled faculty and students pay to park--the same price we charge anybody else. Heaven forbid someone take a loss in revenue by not charging a small percentage of the population that is handicapped!

Fashion disabled--that's me!!!! And, it's not just because I wear the funky shoes now.....I never cared much for clothes. It only matters to me that they fit and they're clean and I blend in. But, that label is just another way the Brits show acceptance and kindness towards the disabled. How nice!

Glad you liked it...I am from the Frankfurt, Germany London,, it is only an hour and a half flight from here.....but I also love Eire and many choices ...:-)....but I try to see London at least one weekend a year.....

I've only had the experience of flying with someone with a disability. I'm not a huge fan of flying, airports, the whole thing. But the experience was truly excellent! We were escorted through the airport after having been met at the curb, priority through security, etc. No free tickets, but excellent service. Even waiting for us outside the bathroom when we had to make a pit stop on the way out of the airport.

in germany we have disabled ID cards... tickets to concerts are 50% cheaper than regular price + 1 partner can come along for the cheaper price....train tickets are cheaper, cars have 20% discount etc.....

Grandma J, I know plenty of people on both sides of The Pond, and I really don't think it's anything to do with "nicer". More likely, it's something to do with this:

It's a very comprehensive and prescriptive law, and our British friends have clearly been working towards its objectives for some time. And look at the date -- 1995 -- that means a whole generation of people have grown up with the assumptions and expectations of disabled access and rights. It certainly shows. I do think that we North Americans have something to learn from the UK experience!

Stoney, my airport experience is the same as yours. Wonderful. (Except in O'Hare, where United took a chunk out of Sybil the Scooter. I guess United doesn't just wreck guitars. LOL) And the washroom ... I once parked in the hall,I think it was in Philly, and walked into the ladies' room. That brought a ground attendant running to help me get to the disable WC. So kind!

Psappy Girl, when we were in Germany last year, I was surprised at the concessions that are made for persons with disabilities. I'm still in two minds about the cheaper prices: I prefer to have equal access, rather than preferential access. But the price break is great! Like I say, we in North American need to be taking notes.

Lamb, how are "things" today?