Premier league goalkeeper Julian Speroni gave an interview at the Crystal Palace Training Ground while ambassadors including the Team GB Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike, MBE and QVC presenter (and Eagles fan) Julia Roberts were among those modelling a unique fashion collection crafted using football media by designer Aleah Leigh. The group was also joined by a special guest, the former Palace and England star John Salako. The preliminary shoot is designed to whet the appetite in advance of the public debut of the full collection at half time when Crystal Palace play West Ham on Saturday 17 October.
The fashion collection is part of an initiative being driven by The British Polio Fellowship to raise awareness of the needs of 120,000 people living with PPS, and the needs of people with disabilities generally. In 2014, the first dress designed to cover a wheelchair and made entirely out of train tickets modelled by Anne Wafula-Strike made news worldwide and started a wider debate concerning disabled fashion.
“I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this year’s fashion initiative such a success,” said CEO of The British Polio Fellowship, Ted Hill MBE. “Anne and Julia have given of their time to model a collection for able and disabled alike. Our aim is to demonstrate inclusivity through fashion and that disability should not be a bar to accessibility or fashion. I would also like to thank Crystal Palace Football Club, Julian Speroni and John Salako for their backing and Kent County Cricket Club who so generously allowed us the use of their facilities. We are all looking forward to the public unveiling at Selhurst Park.”
Joining Anne, Julia and Julian modelling Aleah’s full collection on 17 October will be Anne’s fellow Team GB Paralympian gold and silver medallist James Crisp and his wife Katie. The collection includes a mix of pieces suitable for people of varying mobility, including garments for men and women, developing last year’s theme to be even more inclusive and eye-catching and addressing wider issues of disability and fashion.
“Today was a great deal of fun but there is also a more serious side,” added Ted. “Anne, Julia and James all live with Polio and we wanted to show that fashion is for all and that independence and a normal life are possible with the right help and support. “This campaign is important because we’re sending a message out to the world: being differently abled doesn’t exclude you from fashion or creativity – in fact it can inspire it! We do hope the football fans will get behind us on the 17 October.”
Helping the team to put the serious side of the facts behind PPS for the video was Dr Robin Luff, chair of The British Polio expert panel. The British Fashion Council has applauded this work to campaign for greater diversity on fashion runways and The British Polio Fellowship will continue to spearhead diversity issues both in the fashion industry and across the disabled community nationally.
The fashion campaign is just one part of events to mark PPS Day this year. On the 22 October, Mark Isherwood AM will be hosting The British Polio Fellowship at the Welsh Assembly, while iconic landmarks across Britain are all changing their floodlights to display the charity’s colours to mark PPS Day.
The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the late effects of Polio and PPS. For more details or information on The British Polio Fellowship, call us on 0800 043 1935, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk