Denise Gonçalves is a designer. In her family, she found the fuel to use fashion to express a purpose: what once brought pain has now led to the development of a collection of functional parts.
The inspiration comes from memories of her late brother Ivan, who used a wheelchair and had his own unique style that included printed and colored shirts. Since they always had difficulty finding clothes for him, it was her mother's job to buy fabric and make the clothes herself.
Thus the collection called Inclua essa Concepção (”Include this conception” in portuguese) was born. In order to meet the needs of disabled people, she mixed adapted models and exclusive prints – not only to facilitate their lives, but those of all consumers.
"Inclusion is aggregation and not segmentation."
She produced an editorial full of Melissas, which helps to translate the beauty of her idea. "Melissa is a brand that breaks down taboos and deals with themes about other stereotypes, and is great for inclusive fashion."
She talked to us about the importance of this representativeness.
1. What were some of the challenges you faced in your creative process?
Some types of modeling for inclusive fashion aren't really done in the same way as common modeling. But most of them is common, because this is one of the concepts I used: making clothes for people with disabilities, but that can and are worn by people without disabilities too.
2. Do you plan to expand your collection in the future? Keep exploring accessibility and inclusion in fashion?
That's my real dream. I plan to patent the project and start making some pieces, always focused on inclusive fashion. After all, it's an extremely important theme and deserves it's rightful place in the market.
3. How do you see current fashion, specifically in relation to inclusion?
Fashion has been breaking down stereotypes and barriers, but inclusive fashion still doesn't have the space it deserves. I believe the fashion industry needs to start seeing inclusive fashion as a consumer market and people with disabilities as professionals.
4. Why does representativeness matter?
We're talking about nearly 45.6 million people with some type of disability in Brazil. People who consume more than just wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, etc. People who care about their image, but have a hard time buying pieces that are fit properly and look good. When they buy something, they're forced to make adjustments on their own- something that affects their self esteem, as they feel they don't fit into the market.
Models: Leticia Guilherme, Viviane Alvarez and Heloisa Rocha
Photos: Paula de Lira