This year’s Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) Day campaign (22 October), designed by Aleah Leigh, is set to outdo her last, as the designer has been commissioned to produce a full fashion collection for the cause, based entirely on football media as the source materials.
Last year saw Anne’s unique ‘PPS dress’ design for Paralympian and Team GB legend Anna Wafula-Strike MBE, steal the limelight – British Polio unveiling the world’s first dress designed to fully incorporate a wheelchair, made out of Virgin train tickets. The campaign received widespread publicity, helping to address stigmas and pre-conceptions in the fashion industry, and raise awareness of PPS.
This year, Aleah is set to design a full collection, to be modelled not only by Anne (again), but also by fellow British Polio Ambassadors – QVC presenter and author Julia Roberts; fellow Paralympian James Crisp; and his wife Katie. The celebrity models are rumoured to be joined by one or more well-known faces from the world of football (watch this space!). The collection will include a mix of pieces suitable for people of varying mobility, including garments for men and women, developing last year’s theme to be even more inclusive and eye-catching.
TV presenter Julia is particularly looking forward to seeing what Aleah produces, “It feels great supporting such a glamourous and inventive campaign. Aleah is a gifted designer which makes the project something everyone’s proud to be a part of, and means that we’re able to get a really strong message out.”
“Living with the effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) can influence many areas of life, but here at The British Polio Fellowship we work hard to help members achieve the greatest level of independence. This campaign is important because we’re sending that message out to the world: being differently abled doesn’t exclude you from fashion or creativity – in fact it can inspire it!,” said Ted Hill MBE, British Polio CEO.
Anne Wafula-Strike MBE is involved in the campaign for the second year: “One of the main purposes of last year’s campaign was to show the world that being differently able does not preclude us from being glamourous and sexy! It’s time to attack those stigmas head on; we made a great impact last year and we’re hoping to inspire even more people in 2015. I’m so excited to have Aleah on board again and to be working with Julia, James and Katie. I can’t wait to see the collection; I’m certain it isn’t going to disappoint.”
Last year’s design was created using 3500 recycled Virgin train tickets, and this year’s sport-inspired creations will be made purely out of football related media. British Polio Fellowship has been exploring options for football venues for the grand reveal, and hopes to announce a major diary event, soon.
“Designing and making a dress entirely out of recycled train tickets was certainly a challenge, but making an entire collection is a whole new ball game! I was honoured to be asked to be involved again, we’re challenging some really stubborn idea and stigmas and I’m lucky to be able to help do that in such a creative way” says Aleah.
Paralympian swimmer James Crisp, says: “With last year being such a success I’m honoured to have been asked to be involved this year, I can’t say I ever thought I’d be modelling – and certainly not such a creative collection!.”