A small bridal boutique based in Portishead, England has inadvertently made waves around the world with their eye-catching window display. Nicknamed ‘Prunella’ the display involves a mannequin in a wedding dress placed in a wheelchair, and the idea has now gone viral.
The brainchild of co-owner Laura Allen, the window display at The White Collection caught the eye of local artist Beth Wilson – who herself is in a wheelchair – resulting in her taking to Twitter to voice her approval.
In the Tweet, she wrote, “it shouldn’t be exciting but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window.”
Since then, the mannequin – complete with Louboutin shoes and a flowery neckline on the dress – has gained praise from other wheelchair users around the globe. Not only has it led to a significant debate online but it has resulted in a slew of visitors to the small store, to take photos of the display.
Among these visitors has also been a number of individuals in wheelchairs covering all ages with a cry for shops to become more inclusive with their semi formal shop displays around the world. Co-owner Sarah Parker notes in NRP that ‘Prunella’ has, “created this absolute frenzy and this outpouring of messages on this debate that more shops should follow suit … ..This shouldn’t be an unusual thing to see in a shop window.” The mere fact that it has had such an impact is astounding in this day and age.
Talking to one mother whose daughter has been a wheelchair user since the age of 17, Maria Coehlo claims that they are tired of coming up against barriers due to their situation. She states how the way in which people perceive her daughter, “is changed because the mobility ad is what they perceive…They don’t see the vibrant, beautiful, intelligent, incredible human being that uses the tool as a way of getting around.”
Indeed, such is the sheer joy felt by Coehlo that she immediately took to calling the store to thank them. “I just thought how incredible, how amazing at last…Someone has normalized that wheelchair and that normalizes my daughter.”
It is hoped that this small bridal store in a corner of England may then act as an impetus and push other shops into following suit. The only other question for the owners is what they will do in February for their window display, but now they know that the world is watching with some interest.