Hi guys! I hope you all are having a great week and keeping warm! These antarctic conditions hitting Melbourne are an absolute killer and seriously looking forward to hitting the northern hemisphere for some good-old defrosting time in a week 🙌🏼
The LTC team are headed to Hawaii for some fun in the sun as well as getting some awesome lifestyle fashion shoots for our summer range – “Hip Hop Luau” which we are just too excited to be shooting in the studio tomorrow! Make sure you are watching our stories on Instagram and Facebook tomorrow for a sneak peak of our summer range and if you haven’t already, make sure you sign up to our VIP list to be the first to access our range before anyone else!
The lead up to this photoshoot has really got me thinking about inclusion in the fashion world, because (as some of you may not be surprised) I have spent a good part of the last 4 years dedicating myself to Autism (and ADHD) advocacy on behalf of my children.
As a newbie to the fashion world, I am in no position to say whether or not they have it right in terms of embracing diversity and drawing on the strengths that come with neurodiverse brains, but with my experience with the education system (yep I said it), it is hard to imagine that Autistic models (particularly tweens) often get opportunities to work within a somewhat predictable, sensory friendly/mindful environment when doing a modelling shoot. I assume this because if our educators for goodness sake cannot interpret inclusion policies from the department of education correctly (sorry, word vomit right there 🤣) then how is the rest of society as a whole going to be conditioned to make the small, tiny adjustments required to set up a neurodiverse human for success?
Therefore I thought I would share some of the very basic things I have done and will do; to formulate an environment that gives our Autistic and Neurodiverse child and tween models the best chance on reaching their potential and having a great time.
It often doesn’t take much, and of course each person with Autism is unique in themselves – typecasting is super unhelpful and inaccurate and my list here may not be 100% sufficient. But it is about having an open mind and showing these kids that you believe they can do this, you see their capabilities and that they belong.
I think at the forefront is the phrase “different, not less” because we as a society have a lot to gain by adjusting our perceptions from disability to diffability. Historically, drawing on the strengths of the neurodiverse has only resulted in positivity and progression – for example; there is no way that the theory of relativity was formulated from a typical brain 😆 So really, what do we have to lose by being inclusive?
Below are some of the (very basic) steps Lani the Carni has taken for an inclusive approach to our fashion shoots for our tween models.
- Choice on placement time and providing a schedule in advance. Alerting any changes as soon as possible
- Preview of outfit (photographs)
- Checking in advance for sensory triggers (hair up/down, tight or loose clothing, noise) and offering solutions/accomodations for these – and if the triggers are unavoidable this gives them time to process and be prepared for it, minimising anxiety
- Adjust language and clear instructions on the set to ensure messages are not misconstrued and leave them feeling confused and deflated
- Facilitating a relaxed environment and having realistic, age-appropriate expectations of them (which is a win win because if the children are happy, the photos will work out awesome!)
We also collaborated with Ems for Kids in our Acrodance range where we used their adorable earmuffs as fashion accessories as a way to normalise sensory management. Specifically, check out the pics from our Candy Floss Ombre Acrodance Street Dress and our Charcoal Acrobat Duo Sweatshirt Dress to see how cool the earmuffs look!
Please feel free to add to this by sharing below other ideas moving forward on how we can progress inclusively as a children’s fashion brand!