Disability in Fashion

Read about Abi and Jess’ experience or watch the film here.

Abi James-Miller and Jess Foucher:

Equality is the cornerstone of inclusion, at least that’s what they say. Abi wanted to make this film because she doesn’t feel that there is true inclusion in the fashion industry. The diversity narratives pumped into our brains and splattered across magazines don’t align with Abi’s experiences as a disabled shopper, raising the question: does real diversity exist in the fashion industry?

Abi pitched her idea to Nandita and Onyeka at Eastside, Onyeka became their mentor tasked to shape their development on the program.  Abi and Jess worked hard for several months developing this film from pitch to delivery, settling on London Fashion Week (LFW) as their first shooting location.

They obtained permission to be at LFW and Jess secured photography passes for the positive fashion exhibition, highlighting positive developments in representation and diversity. Onyeka also attended the shoot to assist with vox pop interviews.

The second day of shooting involved interviewing Sassy Wyatt, a disability blogger and speaker, and Models of Diversity (MOD), which is a charity committed to increasing diversity in the fashion industry. 

Abi was in charge of processes pertaining to the contributors. This included coordinating their schedules, securing locations and in her role as producer familiarising herself with them and creating bios that would help to formulate relevant questions to ask ahead of time as she would be the presenter on the day.

Jess was in charge of crew logistics and scheduling: drafting call sheets, liaising with Eastside and booking equipment. In her role as a cinematographer, she used location images to formulate a visual plan of how they would conduct interviews and diversify shots on the day. 

Jess and Abi filmed Abi’s pieces to camera explaining why the issue was important to her. Preparation was more scaled back as there were fewer people involved; however, scripting, location scouting, and equipment sourcing still took place.

Jess edited the footage, which took around a month with the help of review and feedback sessions from Abi and Eastside. Jess found YouTube an integral tool for editing where she learned many processes, such as colour grading and sound correcting, which enabled the film to be brought to life.

Their takeaways following the experience were to prioritise sound in the filming process, to always have the edit in mind in terms of the visuals and to trust in their ability to deliver a final product that really encapsulates their vision.

Abi and Jess found that the film making process brings people together, which is important to them because they want to continue the conversation surrounding fashion and diversity. 

They encourage potential applicants to register for the fund as they found it an invaluable hands-on learning experience that gave them a true insight into film making processes and allowed them unparalleled autonomy over the project.

Abi and Jess now feel confident that they can apply their newfound skillsets to future filmmaking pursuits.

Join Abi at London Fashion Week discussing whether there is true inclusion in the fashion industry. Abi as a disabled shopper and love of fashion, raises the question: does real diversity exist in the fashion industry?
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