Vogue ‘Reframing Fashion’ by Tilting the Lens
26th April 2023
Sinéad Burke’s accessibility consultancy Tilting the Lens has joined forces with British Vogue to support the realisation of its May 2023 issue ‘Reframing Fashion.’
Tilting the Lens is an accessibility consultancy that was founded in 2020 by Sinéad, a Disabled educator, advocate and author who champions accessibility, equity and social justice. Established on the three pillars of education, advocacy and design, Tilting the Lens advises major global brands including Farfetch, Gucci, ITV, Jo Malone London, Netflix, Snap and Starbucks, guiding them in their move from awareness to action by creating more accessible practices, policies, products and services, places and promotions.
Highlighting Disability justice, accessibility, equity, intersectionality and pride, the May issue of British Vogue celebrates and spotlights a broad range of Disabled advocates including cover stars Selma Blair, Ellie Goldstein, Justina Miles, Aaron Rose Philip and Burke herself.
The issue also features a portfolio of Disabled changemakers representing the beauty and breath of the Disabled community, including the writer, activist, and academic Dr Rosaleen McDonagh. It is believed that Rosaleen is the first representative of the Irish Traveller community to be featured in Vogue’s portfolio.
Speaking of the experience, Rosaleen said:
“It’s a paradox. Most of my life I get looked at, yet there is an invisibility, a judgement, a shame attached. Being in Vogue empowered me to push my shoulders back, raise my head and say ‘this is who I am and this is what I am.’”
Celebrating Disability was conceived by British Vogue’s Editor in Chief & European Editorial Director of Vogue, Edward Enninful. Tilting the Lens supported the editing, marketing, operations, digital and wider teams by providing insights and actionable advice, ensuring that the lived experience of Disabled people and better practices in accessibility were at the heart of this edition.
“British Vogue wanted to “unpick, unlearn and really learn alongside Disabled people what a more accessible issue would look like, both in terms of the physical issue itself and the ways in which you could create safe spaces for Disabled people to engage in the process,” said Sinéad in a recent piece with freelance writer, Celestine Fraser.
The print issue is on sale from this week, and for the first time, British Vogue will also be made available in physical and digital Braille from 5 May, and as an audio format. This commitment will be extended to all future issues of the publication for the next year, in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
In 2019, Sinéad was chosen by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle for the cover of British Vogue’s Forces for Change issue, making her the first little person to feature on the publication’s front page. On returning to Vogue House in London to plan the issue Burke noted:
“I asked myself if the fashion industry has become more accessible, or if it has just become more accessible for me? To create meaningful change, we must not design exceptions but pathways and pipelines”.
“With its cultural relevance, highlighting and honouring the Disabled community in the pages of British Vogue creates a call to action for the much needed change in other parts of the fashion industry, and beyond.
Accessibility and Disability inclusion are everyone’s responsibility and opportunity – this is a movement, not a moment.”
Edward Enninful, Editor in Chief of British Vogue said: “Working with Tilting the Lens allowed us to truly bring this issue to life in a way we’d previously only dreamt of. Accessibility and inclusivity for the Disabled community is a conversation we need to be having more often – and consistently – in the fashion industry.
At British Vogue we, like so many others, are on a journey and having Sinéad and her team as supporters, friends and colleagues is an enormous point of pride for me.”
The May 2023 ‘Reframing Fashion’ edition of British Vogue represents a historic milestone in Disability visibility and representation in Fashion. “Often we have an understanding or a belief that we need to bring disability in,” says Sinéad. “But I firmly believe from engaging in the fashion industry that there are many Disabled people already there. And yet there is not a safety in which they can self-identify because historically we have seen disability as less.”
One solution, says Sinéad, is “to foster cultures or psychological safety and belonging,” so that there is a ‘comfort level for employees at all levels to self-identify as Disabled.”
Credits: Photography: Adama Jalloh; Styling: Kate Phelan; Hair: Anna Cofone; Makeup: Francesca Daniella; Nails: Edyta Betka.
Sinéad Burke cover – Image shows Sinéad Burke, a white, queer little person, on the cover of British Vogue. Sinéad’s brown bob has been curled into soft waves that are blowing gently in the wind. With both of her hands resting on her hips, she stands against a white backdrop, wearing a white shirt dress with a black belt by Alexander McQueen, and her own black, pointy pumps by Ferragamo. Above her head, a white Vogue logo in big letters. The cover also reads ‘Reframing Fashion: Dynamic, Daring & Disabled.’
Sinéad Burke inside image – Sinéad Burke, a white, queer little person, standing in a room in front of a grey, textured wall. With her brown bob curled into soft waves, she is twirling in a black, full length Richard Quinn dress with a pleated skirt and a yellow and green floral print. The dress has a matching cape that is floating out around Sinéad’s shoulders as she moves. She is wearing her own oxblood shoes by Ferragamo.
Dr. Rosaleen McDonagh inside image – Dr. Rosaleen McDonagh, a white woman wheelchair user with dark hair in an elegant updo. The beauty look is finished off with red lipstick. She is positioned to the side in front of a grey, textured wall, wearing a red silk long dress by Michael Kors, patterned nude tights, with earrings by Agmes, and a pair of glasses with bright pink frames. The look is complete with white boots, her own. She is smiling brightly into the camera, and a green floral display is just visible in the right of the frame.