The British Polio Fellowship will unveil its ‘Heading for a hat trick’ fashion campaign at Royal Ascot Gold Cup (‘Ladies’ day’) on 16 June, to raise awareness of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS). Teaming up milliner Janice Charles with designer Aleah Leigh, the campaign features fourteen bespoke designer hats, inspired by the symbolic motifs of some of the UK’s favourite sports teams. This is the third such PPS fashion campaign headed by the charity involving Aleah Leigh, and is part of a wider effort to increase accessibility in fashion in general.
The hats that will be revealed at Royal Ascot Gold Cup Day – ‘Ladies day’ – an event synonymous with millinery innovation. The British Polio PPS campaign hats will include: England’s three lions (three separate lion hats); a Welsh football dragon (England will play Wales in the Euros at 2:00pm on 16 June); a Scottish RFU thistle; an Irish RFU clover; a Leicester City FC fox; Saracens Rugby Union ‘star and moon’; a Crystal Palace FC eagle, Arsenal’s famous cannon and Spurs’ equally famous cockerel; and a wasp for Wasps RFC.
Ted Hill MBE, CEO of the British Polio Fellowship, said: “This is a tremendously creative way to raise awareness for PPS, a condition that affects 120,000 people in the UK. We’ve chosen to use this very British sporting event, Royal Ascot, which is also momentous in the fashion design industry, to highlight PPS in such a visual way.”
PPS occurs in 80% of people that have had polio; symptoms include a severe reduction in stamina, cold intolerance and muscle pain. Research conducted by the charity shows that only 7% of the British public have heard of PPS, despite it affecting the same number of people who have Parkinson’s disease.
Ted added: “We’re always keen to use innovative ways to raise awareness of PPS, and we’ve used fashion as a vehicle in previous campaigns. Fashion needs to be accessible to the 10million people in the UK living with a disability.”
Over the past three years, The British Polio Fellowship has become a strong voice for accessible fashion, after its inaugural fashion campaign in June 2014 that saw the design and production of the world’s first dress to fully incorporate a wheelchair. Following the success of last year’s fashion campaign to raise awareness of PPS day 2015 (which featured an entire collection designed by designer Aleah Leigh and modelled by British Polio Fellowship Ambassadors Anne Wafula-Strike MBE and Julia Roberts of QVC fame, alongside Premier League star Julian Speroni), the charity wanted to make an even bigger impact this summer.
“2016 is a year with a massive sporting focus, with the European football championships, the Olympic and Paralympic Games – not forgetting the momentous rise of underdogs Leicester City FC winning the Premier League recently. We’re honouring these sporting achievements with the hats whilst at the same time getting people to spare a thought for those living with PPS,” concluded Ted.
For further information about the British Polio Fellowship, visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.