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Bristol Bridal shop praised for wheelchair wedding dress store front

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A Bristol bridal boutique has been praised for displaying one of its wedding dresses on a mannequin sat in a wheelchair prominently in its shop window.

A photo of the display at The White Collection in Portishead, went viral on Twitter after it was shared by disabled artist Beth Wilson.

“The new wedding shop in town has a wheelchair using mannequin and it shouldn’t be exciting but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window,” Mrs Wilson said.

The 36-year-old has been a wheelchair user for the past five years and said she was pleased because the display made her feel represented.

The dress worn by the mannequin posed in a wheelchair
Image:
The dress worn by the mannequin posed in a wheelchair

“So often disabled people feel invisible because we don’t see ourselves in the media… especially not modelling beautiful clothes,” Mrs Wilson.

“I don’t need a wedding dress but if I did, I’d definitely be far happier about going to a shop where I knew that I’d be accepted, wheelchair and all.”

Laura Allen, who owns the bridal shop with her sister Sarah Parker, said they “didn’t think much about it” when they installed the display.

“It’s been great having such a positive response, but in a way it’s quite sad people have done a double-take, it shows how rare it is to see a wheelchair in a shop window,” said Mrs Allen.

“It would be nice one day for people to double-take just because they like the dress.”

The 29-year-old thinks other shops should follow their example, although she adds she does not believe they are the first to represent disability in this way.

“It’s an industry that’s well known for not being inclusive, a lot of bridal shops you go past you see the standard skinny mannequin,” said Mrs Allen.

“But everyone gets married, it doesn’t matter what you look like or how you are, your day is going to be special.

“The mannequin looks amazing and the dress looks just as good as if they were stood up.”

The wheelchair in the display was given a decorative garland, something Mrs Wilson also praised.

Bridal store The White Collection's shop front
Image:
Bridal store The White Collection’s shop front

“It’s great that they decorated the chair rather than hiding it away,” she said.

“Mobility aids are often portrayed as negative things that people want to hide when actually mobility aids like wheelchairs give us freedom.”

Twitter users praised the shop.

One said: “This is fab! If only more bridal shops showed this level of inclusivity.”

Another added: “Have to say, that dress looks fabulous with the chair, good to see them showcase how important it is that they make sure dresses look great for every client.”

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