A lineup of diverse Barbie dolls from the Fashionista 2022 collection.

5 Brands Paving the Way for Disability Inclusion

From kids’ toys and lingerie to marathons and cleaning supplies, disability inclusion has become the focal point in major product categories and marketing campaigns. Despite 26% of Americans identifying as disabled, it’s only recently that authentic disability representation has become more common amongst mainstream brands.

 

White text and simulated braille that read "Make disability inclusion mainstream"

 

1. Adidas Runner 321

A new campaign launched by Adidas is encouraging marathons to reserve the bib number “321” for racers with Down syndrome and other neurodivergent athletes. In April 2022 the infamous Boston Marathon was the first race to take part in the campaign. Athlete Chris Nikic, the first person with Down syndrome to complete a triathlon, wore bib number 321. The number “321” was chosen because Down syndrome occurs in individuals with 3 copies of trisomy 21. Adidas’ creative director Andrew MacPhee explains that “inclusion in sport requires role models to show others what’s possible.” 

A group of runners outside jogging. A white man with Down syndrome is centred in the group.

 

2. SKIMS Adaptive Collection

Kim Kardashian’s underwear and shapewear brand SKIMS reinvented their Fit Everybody underwear line. The new collection has 4 styles, 4 colors, and sizes ranging from XXS to 4X. Each piece in the adaptive collection features hook and eye closures that are discreet, sleek, and help with accessibility while dressing. SKIMS worked alongside numerous individuals from the disability community to help create this collection, including USA paralympian Scout Bassett. 

A group of women sitting on a couch each wearing a different set of matching SKIMS bra and underwear from the adaptive collection.
 

3. Barbie

Mattel has released a new Barbie Fashionista collection that includes the first Barbie doll to wear behind-the-ear hearing aids. The collection will also include a Barbie doll with prosthetic limbs and a Ken doll with a skin condition called vitiligo. In a previous Barbie Fashionista collection, Mattel featured a Barbie doll in a wheelchair which came as a top request from customers. 

Barbie doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids and Ken doll with skin condition called vitiligo
 

4. Sesame Street

Sesame Street welcomes a new character to the show! Ameera is an 8 year old who loves science and basketball, but also happens to be in a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury. Ameera was first featured on Ahlan Simsim, the Middle Eastern adaptation of Sesame Street. The Sesame Street team is hopeful that Ameera will help children with disabilities feel seen and will teach able-bodied children that Ameera is not so different from them after all. 

A group of Sesame Street characters
 

5. Bounty Visionaries + Voices Inclusive Artist Project

Bounty partnered with the Visionaries + Voices organization for the first donation-driven initiative. Visionaries + Voices is a local organization in Bounty’s hometown Cincinnati, Ohio that helps to provide studio space and supplies to over 125 disabled artists. Bounty released a collection of paper towels with limited edition designs created by 8 disabled artists. Through this collaboration, over $400,000 USD was donated to the Visionaries + Voices organization. 

A pack of Bounty’s paper towels from the Visionaries + Voices collection.
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