One bridal shop in Ipswich learnt that disabled people felt uncomfortable shopping for wedding dresses after reading an article and decided to be the change they wanted to see.
The team at Beautiful Designs wanted to show their support and compassion to all of their customers so they took matters into their own hands and quickly organised a photo shoot.
Ellie Mullis, was first diagnosed with ME when she was 20 years old after experiencing symptoms for over four years. Unfortunately her symptoms continued to worsen and she has recently started to need a wheelchair to aid her mobility.
“I think anyone who has experienced ME, or any chronic illness, worries about their future plans. When you have such a dynamic, evolving disability, plans keep changing and the big dreams that you have start to seem so far away, if at all possible. My wedding day has always been one of those big dreams and there have been months with my condition where even trying to imagine that day with ME seemed so far from possible. Its taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that some of these dreams can still happen, even if it takes longer than anticipated or looks different than expected, and can still be beautiful.”Ellie Mullis.
Ellie was invited to attend a shoot that would celebrate her disability and make others feel confident that they mattered and were beautiful too. She said: “Who wouldn’t want to try on wedding dresses and pose in them?! But to be able to do that in a way that was adaptable to me and represented something so personal and impactful, it was surreal. I felt a great deal of responsibility to do it and do it successfully for the people I was representing.”
The photographs turned out beautifully and quickly drew in lots of positive comments online.
Ellie feels that other companies should be more inclusive as she felt the ME community, as well as other disabilities, are often not present in campaigns.
Finally, Ellie said: “I think that there is still so much stigma around disabilities and being disabled; in my experience growing up in the British school system, it just wasn’t discussed, and if anyone seemed any sort of different, they were ostracized from the rest. In reality, so many of us have invisible disabilities, so much of society uses mobility aids or has additional needs; it isn’t the minority and it never has been, its just been under represented. What needs to be done is changing that sense of representation, so that people aren’t too afraid of the unknown or the ‘unusual,’ because they’ve been immersed in experiencing it throughout their life. Being able to play even a small role in that representation has been a true privilege, one I don’t take lightly. The response shows how important it’s been to the disabled community, its been incredible.”
You can follow Ellie on her Twitter page here.