Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

‘IMPERFECT’ Campaign + listed buildings…

August 8, 2009

bloga+fI’ve recently come across the new ‘IMPERFECT’ campaign which has been set up off the back of Riam Deans case against Abercrombie and Fitch. I don’t fully understand the case but as far as I am aware the store in London discriminated Riam by making her work in the stockroom because she didn’t fit in with their “look policy”. Riam wears a prosthetic arm due to being born with her left limb missing, this apparently goes against the look Abercrombie and Fitch want to create for their customers. Riam is in the process of suing Abercrombie and Fitch on grounds of discrimination in the workplace. More information on the case can be found at http://www.imperfect.uk.com, they will be able to explain it far better than myself!

What I find so refreshing about this campaign is that its aim is to not only banish discrimination against ‘dis’ability in the work place but in society as a whole. Another element which draws this campaign apart from similar ‘say-no-to-discrimination’ campaigns is that it is run by Riam Dean and Sophie Morgan (some of you might know Sophie through her artwork/photography or from her appearance on ‘Britain’s Missing Top Model’), both of who are young women living with ‘dis’abilities making an impact on the younger generation…and from the reaction they are getting from their IMPERFECT campaign they are certainly reaching the right people. How bloody brilliant!

Back to Abercrombie and Fitch. After reading Riams story I feel slightly ashamed to say that I have indeed purchased many items from the store…I’m ready to be called a hypocrite BUT (and this is a very big but) I brought them in the US, long before Riams encounter with the store. Back in New York I felt the store was well laid out, accessible, inviting, the staff were helpful and the products were good. So when I got back to England and trekked up to their London store you can imagine how frustrating it was to be turned away from the front door due to steps and taken round to a side entrance “You get the VIP treatment!” the lady sheepishly smiled. Funny that, felt more like I was being smuggled in under a blanket…Once in the store I took a wander about, battling with the occasional narrow door and every so often a small step, “Where are the ladies hoodies?” I asked the same woman who had let me in the ‘V.I.P.’ entrance (who by the way seemed to follow me round like a bad smell) “They are up stairs” she replied. “Oh, so where’s your lift?” her smile faded. “Well unfortunately due to the old, listed building and the layout of the store, we don’t have one…but I can bring some products down for you?” I contemplated the idea of making the poor woman run around the store for me, making her grab items I never really considered buying, but alas I felt rather mean (not to mention I didn’t want the fuss) and so I waited for the rest of my party at the bottom of the stairs as they searched through the clothes above me, every so often bringing a hoodie down to show me, needless to say I didn’t buy anything, neither did anyone else I was with, seemed a bit, wrong.

I am not saying that Abercrombie and Fitch is the only store that doesn’t have lifts or doesn’t cater for disabled customers, in fact half the local shops in my area are completely inconvenient, it seems as though the government are hung up on keeping buildings the way they were, listing them, banning lifts/ramps to keep things looking the way they have always done. Surely now though, it is time to change, time to let us wheelchair users have access the coats and bags on the second floor.

Ali x

For more information on Riams case or to support a brilliant campaign go to:
http://www.imperfect.uk.com

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