I’m so excited to interview Alex Ayuab for this blog post. Alex is a fashion blogger and podcaster that is making waves in the adaptive fashion industry. Sharing her journey in finding adaptive clothing, her blog (and now podcast, Alex’s Fun Little Podcast) brings a refreshing and needed look into finding fashionable pieces in life with a disability.
1. Your blog is amazing! What made you start blogging about adaptive fashion?
Thank you! I wanted to create a space that I personally could have used when I was younger. I have always loved fashion, but it hasn't always loved me. I knew from a very young age how hard it was to find clothing that worked for the different stages and complexities of my disability. I didn't even think it was wrong, I thought it was my fault, the price of being "different". I wanted to use my voice to make sure no one ever feels that way. Everyone deserves to have clothing that works for them and makes them feel good.
I actually recently stopped writing the blog and started a podcast (Alex's Fun Little Podcast) instead. I wanted to reach more people in a more personal way. We discuss disability, fashion, pop culture, and so much more.
2. Why is adaptive clothing important to you?
Fashion should be for everybody. I think it's such an incredible tool for telling the world who you are and giving a sense of self. Sadly, fashion is built on exclusivity. Who has what, what designer you're wearing- exclusivity sells clothes. But it doesn't need to be this way in 2022. Everyone should be able to find clothing for their bodies and needs. In most fashion circles, adaptive clothing still seems "heroic", it should be the standard.
3. What's been something you've seen the fashion industry doing right for adaptive clothing?
I love seeing more brands use "universal" design rather than "adaptive design". It takes down that barrier of difference and shows it can be for everyone. Like most accessibility, it helps everyone and hurts no one. I like seeing that transfer over to fashion. Also, more accountability in using models with disabilities. It's great to show your clothing on people with prosthetics or using mobility aids, but could this person really wear what you're selling? Burberry posted a photo of a model with a prosthetic leg wearing slide sandals. People with prosthetic legs/feet have said they are not physically able to wear slides. The community held them accountable. It's important that we aren't tokenized to sell clothing that wasn't made for us.
4. What's something you think the fashion industry could improve on when it comes to adaptive fashion?
I think most fashion brands don't even entertain making their clothing/accessories adaptable, because it seems like a mountain too big to climb. There are millions of disabilities and chronic illnesses out there, how can you make something that suits everyone? You can't. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. You cannot be everything for everyone, but if enough fashion brands commit to being adaptive, we won't need a handful of companies to do it all. We'll have a true shift in the industry.
5. What do you hope to see in the future for the disabled community and fashion?
I hope that adaptive clothing isn't seen as an "extra" arm of fashion. I want to see it be the standard for all fashion brands- a collective effort to include clothing and accessories that become inclusive for so many, even if it's just a change from buttons to velcro. There are so many minor changes brands could commit to that can really open up the fashion industry.
For the disability community, I want them to see we have a place in the fashion industry. We deserve to see ourselves in clothing and shoes, and easily find things that make us feel great. Fashion is like a language, and we deserve to have a voice.