Saturday 21 September 2019

'It should be the norm, but it's exciting' - Bridal boutique commended for using a wheelchair using mannequin in wedding dress display

Chair is adorned with greenery

Karen Birney

Karen Birney

A photo of a bridal boutique which used a mannequin bride in a wheelchair in their window display has gone viral, with the shop being commended for its portrayal of different physical abilities.

The window of the White Collection bridal boutique in Portishead, Bristol, which features a mannequin bride sitting in a greenery-adorned wheelchair, was photographed by artist Beth Wilson, who uses a wheelchair, and shared on Twitter.

"The new wedding shop in town has a wheelchair using mannequin," she captioned the image of the boutique's display.

"It shouldn’t be exciting but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window."

Beth's tweet was liked over 30,000 times and has received thousands of comments from people commending the shop for highlighting different physical abilities.

"Have to say, when I got married it was the most difficult and emotional element" one woman wrote. "So much pressure to be that bride. Bought @jimmychoo shoes to highlight wheelchair users love shoes too! Hopefully I looked ok!"

Beth, 36, said the display made her feel 'represented' and commented that it was the first time she had seen any shop outside of mobility shops use a wheelchair display.

"Mobility aids are also often portrayed as negative things that people want to hide when actual mobility aids like wheelchairs give us freedom," she told Metro.co.uk.

"It’s great that they decorated the chair rather than try and hide it away."

Other brides shared their chair decor from their day on the artists' thread, as well as other similar wedding window displays they had seen around the world, such as a suit display in Tokyo.

"It should just be the norm, but it is exciting," one woman Tweeted, "especially as a wedding shop I feel, as I have never seen disability represented either in mainstream media or 'high street' shops in the wedding industry."

The White Collection said they've been overwhelmed by the response to Beth's tweet, and revealed that they didn't intend to put their display 'out there' themselves, however are happy with the response it received.

"When setting up this window display, we didn’t even think to share on our social media pages or ‘put it out there’ but it seems to have done just that all by itself," they wrote on Instagram.

"We would like to thank everyone for your kind comments about our window- we have been surrounded by so much love and positivity, which is what this industry is all about, right?!  

"If this window has done anything, it’s shown us how much of an impact having a wheelchair user in the window has caused, and hopefully as time goes by, things like this will not cause so much of a big response, because there will be a lot more of it around. We didn’t think that our window would get this much attention, but what it really has done is it has opened up a (worldwide!) discussion about inclusivity in this industry, which can only be a good thing!"

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