Wheeling and Dealing: The Effect of New Technologies on Access to Clothing for Persons with Mobility Disabilities

Emma Thompson

This paper will take a historical look at the change from custom made to mass manufacture clothing, and how this affected every body, but specifically seated bodies with different proportions. The results from my study Left Out: A Revealing Look into the Everyday Fashion Choices of Individuals with Mobility Disabilities will be recounted to note how persons with mobility disabilities navigate shopping, find clothes that fit, and are easily donned and doffed. What the participants believe could be changed by manufacturers and retailers to better meet their needs will also be considered. With the use of 3D body scanners, co-design techniques, universal design, and rupturing stereotypes surrounding bodies, can these issues be solved? 
The following paper will explore the role of new sizing technologies and design practices and the attitudes of manufacturers to see how these technologies and practices could solve some of the issues faced by persons with mobility disabilities, manufacturers, and retailers.