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Sinéad Burke on Making Change a Movement, Not a Moment

The writer and disability advocate advises how the fashion industry can uproot ableism and redesign what accessibility looks like.
Sinéad Burke, BoF VOICES 2021

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Four years ago, writer and activist Sinéad Burke made her debut at BoF VOICES, when she implored the fashion community to start designing for disability, noting that the global spending power of disabled people is more than $1.9 trillion.

Following a series of high-profile appearances after VOICES 2017 — from Davos to the Met Gala — Burke has been honing her sense of mission and purpose, and has come to the conclusion that creating products for disabled people is not enough.

In her return to the BoF VOICES stage in 2021, she said: “If change is only embedded in the present, change will be a moment, not a movement.”

On the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Burke lays out a path for removing abelism from our society. Systemic change, she said, has to happen based around four pillars: people, places, product and promotions, and be jump-started with awareness, allyship and advocacy. In short this means “nothing about us, without us.”

This podcast is made in partnership with Shopify.

Further Reading

In the fifth and final session of BoF’s annual gathering, Vanessa Kingori, Jay Shetty, Sinéad Burke, Christian Louboutin and others spoke about finding personal fulfillment in the face of adversity.


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Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
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State of Fashion 2023
© 2022 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions and Privacy policy.
State of Fashion 2023