Because there’s more money in dogs than the disabled

A harsh thing to say but true all the same:

Why are there more clothing lines for dogs than disabled people?

Interestingly, there is a solution:

Toronto-based designer Izzy Camilleri is best known for her work styling celebrities such as David Bowie, Angelina Jolie and Meryl Streep. But her latest collection, released this month, has one major difference: it is designed for people with disabilities.

After doing some custom work in the early 2000s for a client who was quadriplegic, Camilleri had her “eyes opened” to how existing clothing did not necessarily work for women using a wheelchair. For example, having a “seated frame” meant that many traditionally designed trousers rode down or dug into her client’s waist. At the time, “adaptive clothing” – clothes made with disabled people in mind – barely existed; when it did, it was not aimed at fashion-conscious young adults. “Most of what was out there were clothes for [older people] living in long-term care facilities,” Camilleri says. “I realised there was nothing for younger people. [I was] motivated to fill this void.”

It’s known as “the market economy.”

As society becomes richer more resources are available, some of which are devoted to those desires of the disabled perhaps. After all, we’ve stopped that exposure on the hillside thing, haven’t we, which is a useful sign of rising up above a subsistence society.

We can also take a Marxist view. Capitalism is, by its very success, collapsing profit margins so ever more frantic attempts to find a profit take place. Including making pretty clothes for the wheelchair bound.

What is interesting though is that we’ve a Guardian article insisting that a problem is being solved without government having been involved.

25 comments on “Because there’s more money in dogs than the disabled

  1. A rare Frances Ryan column that doesn’t immediately call for ‘government money’ to saddle & feed whatever hobbyhorse she’s galloping to exhaustion today.

    But then there’s this:

    “Last month, a study by the disability charity Scope found that as many as one in eight members of the public hardly ever or never think of disabled people “as the same as everyone else”.. “

    They aren’t. They are disabled.

  2. Two reasons I can think of:

    Disabled people are still actually people so can wear clothes designed for people, whereas dogs aren’t and cannot.

    Any company which did design a disabled clothing range would be hounded out of business by a Guardian-raised pitchfork Twittermob because the clothes identified people as disabled and hence was like making them wear a Star of David, or something.

  3. “Last month, a study by the disability charity Scope found that as many as one in eight members of the public hardly ever or never think of disabled people “as the same as everyone else”.. “

    Which is why, of course, she demands distinct fashion for them. Because they are the same. Is that right?

  4. “Last month, a study by the disability charity Scope found that as many as one in eight members of the public hardly ever or never think of disabled people “as the same as everyone else”.. “

    I long ago reached a stage with such axe-grinding surveys that I couldn’t be bothered to try to find out exactly how loaded the questions were or how misleading the conclusions and/or press release..
    I just reject out of hand. Saves a lot of time.

  5. Compassion fatigue could have been coined for Frances Ryan and the differently-abled. With me she has achieved the opposite of drawing issues to my attention, I just don’t bother reading.

  6. It’s not the Marxist view. When people talk about money in the disabled market, there really isn’t. Sorry. Disabled people cost businesses money.

    But yes, we nearly all want to look after disabled people. I’m sure my cinema ticket costs more in order to pay for disabled seating and the loop for deaf people, and I’m fine with that. I know we have legislation but you could scrap it and make little difference. A cafe owner that won’t put a ramp in (and sensibly can) will face blowback from customers.

  7. So there is a potential market for clothing for disabled.

    Question is, will the disabled buy it? Not a mass market if having to deal with different problems so say £100 for an outfit retail price?
    Its usually cheaper for the disabled person to buy regular clothes and alter them.
    I’ve a friend missing her arm from above the elbow, she is good with a sewing machine and tailors her own clothing to look good – a £10 blouse would be costing a LOT more if she had to buy one suited for 12cm of her arm.

    The thing to do is look around for failed clothing lines dealing with disabled and ask why they failed.

  8. Anon – disabled people cost businesses money?
    Want to tell that to Motability? Want to tell that to companies producing wheelchairs? Want to tell that to companies producing disability aids?

    Is there a disabled shop near you? Go in and look at the prices.

    Was at a disabled show at the NEC recently, saw a lovely powered wheelchair that I loved on first sight. £15k.
    By comparison some lesser powered wheelchairs were £1.5k.
    The different functionality was ability to stand up and wheel along.

  9. The disparity is nothing to do with compassoin but customer base. The number of dog owners / doggy customers is orders of magnitude larger than that for specialised disabled people. That’s it.

  10. JS: “…I couldn’t be bothered to try to find out exactly how loaded the questions were or how misleading the conclusions and/or press release..
    I just reject out of hand. Saves a lot of time.”

    Unfortunately, this just means that they are answered – and skewed – by the people who have nothing but time on their hands. People like Ryan.

  11. Martin,

    In those cases, government is covering the costs. Motability run on grants from the government.

    Web site accessibility is a huge expense for the number of orders you get. You can spend thousands and get an order a month.

  12. Martin said:
    “Not a mass market if having to deal with different problems”

    That was my thought too. If you’re designing things for dogs, I guess you just do the same thing in 4 or 5 different sizes. Disabled people covers an awful lot of different problems, each of which will need specialist solutions, and many of which are probably very small markets.

  13. Mr Ecks said:
    “Simplest of all –there are far more dogs than there are disabled people.”

    Supposedly there aren’t; the claimed statistics for the UK are 8.6 million dogs and 13.9 million disabled people.

    So then it’s how many of those are actually disabled enough to need special clothes, versus how many dog owners are mad enough to buy clothes for an animal with its own coat.

    I suspect the actual reason is that the disabled market is much more fragmented, with lots of different, very specialist, needs, each of which is actually a separate, usually small, market. Whereas if you’re selling clothes for dogs, I guess 4 or 5 different sizes will cater for pretty much the whole market.

  14. Also depends on how they define disabled. I’m disabled in that I don’t have perfect vision, however I’m not handicapped by it as I wear spectacles.

  15. Anon – yes Motability makes money from the government. As the largest car fleet they have purchasing power too.
    The crips often have to pay for adaptations, the wheelchair I was looking at needed a crane to get it into the car boot as was heavy – a crane can be a grand extra.

    RichardT – yes lots of dog things are sized for certain groups of dogs in general so can be a million plus potential users of a single product in one size.
    Compared to some disabled clothing which may be a few hundred potential customers with that size & fit.

    As for numbers of disabled its rather a strange issue – lots don’t need much specialist help.
    I’ll manage one of mine with central heating and normal warm clothing, the other 4 disabilities don’t need any special clothing at all.

    Around the house I won’t use any disability aids on ground floor, furniture and workspace set up for me to do stuff as needed.

  16. 13.9 million disabled people

    WTF? That’s more than a fifth of the population!

    If we had a realistic estimation of the true number of disabled people and desisted funding charities which make exaggerated claims (solely in order to fund the lifestyle of their able-bodied mooching employees) then it could be £15k Maserati wheelchairs for all!

  17. We buy clothes for dogs. Well, by “we”, I mean “they” or perhaps “you”. Assuming that a choke collar is not what they have in mind.

    But the government is in charge of the Disabled. We have abdicated responsibility to Whitehall. Why is it a surprise that they do not do fashion? The disabled are lucky that they are not dressed like the blue worker ants of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

  18. “How long is the stub?”

    Ready made for the disabled can’t work. As RichardT says, too much variability and specialized needs.

  19. @ MC
    It all depends on your definition of “disabled”: I am deaf in one ear which I had to state last time I filled in a form to enter a Marathon – arguably being short-sighted enough to need glasses to read a number plate at x yards makes me disabled. I occasionally race against a middle-aged friend who is registered blind – I did beat hm once when he didn’t allow for how he would slow down towards the end of his first 50km race but usually he leaves me well behind.

  20. @JuliaM’

    They aren’t. They are disabled.

    +1

    Probably true: “Last month, a study by the disability charity Scope found that as many as one in eight members of the public hardly ever or never think of disabled people”

  21. Like Martin and John I am “disabled” though not in the sense that would lead most people to immediately lump me in with more stereotypically “disabled” people, and I don’t know even how helpful it is to define me (or anyone else) in such terms. We could do with a new terminology.

    Having said that, I am “disabled enough” (if that is even a Thing) to have certain clothing needs which does make clothes shopping an occasionally frustrating experience. But if I see something that has quality, lasting material and which fits or suits me well, but which does not meet my specific needs, I’m sorry to disappoint this entrepreneur but it’s actually straightforward and inexpensive for me to get someone to adjust it for me. And the specific changes that I need made might apply to some tens of thousands of other chaps but not to a huge swathe of the population – hence even if there are millions of disabled people, I can’t see “disabled clothing” ever being a mass market thing.

  22. JuliaM

    “Last month, a study by the disability charity Scope found that as many as one in eight members of the public hardly ever or never think of disabled people “as the same as everyone else”.. “

    They aren’t. They are disabled.

    Well quite! Had the polling been the other way round, wouldn’t it instead show “the general public are so ignorant of the needs and difficulties facing the disabled population, that they lump them in with everyone else and do not recognise their special situation?”

    What a completely useless question.

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