Grace Stratton an InStyle Badass Woman for 2019

Nineteen year old kiwi Grace Stratton, founder of accessible fashion website (AIFA), has been recognised as one of American InStyle magazine’s 50 Badass Women for 2019 – a list of ‘women who are leading the way toward a better world.’

Stratton, a lifelong wheelchair user who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a year old, created AIFA in collaboration with communications agency SweeneyVesty, to address what she identified as ‘a near-total lack of representation of people with access needs within fashion.’ Being a fashion fan, Stratton felt continually frustrated buying garments online that ended up being unwearable for her because of details such as hidden zips or ties not being thoroughly explained. Her research revealed that this type of problem exists in every disability community – those with sight impairments, or sensory disorders, or are amputees all face logistical challenges when shopping online for clothes and all face the same experience of never ‘seeing themselves’ in advertising. The AIFA website curates high-end New Zealand fashion designer collections and presents them on models with access needs, accompanied by access-friendly garment descriptions and custom-created search engine terms.

Considered to be the first website of its kind, AIFA caught the eye of InStyle, who have included her in their iconic list alongside the likes of Rihanna, climate change activist Greta Thunberg, and Nobel Prize-winning chemical engineer, Frances Arnold. The magazine reaches a global audience of 15.8 million readers per issue across print and digital, a number which Stratton says “means the world” to her mission.

“By cultivating an environment where people with disabilities are continually represented, we will increase the confidence of those with access needs” says Stratton, who is also a full time law and communications student. “With this confidence, people with disabilities will be empowered to develop stronger, bigger ambitions for themselves. They will then be more likely to seek out and find opportunities – and find more places of belonging – from workplaces, to relationships or self-agency. Belonging is our ultimate goal.”

Stratton, who was also recently awarded a 2019 New Zealand Youth Award for Innovation for AIFA, is working with SweeneyVesty on a new series of projects which will address accessibility across a variety of industries outside of fashion.

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Dunedin Swimmer Erika Fairweather Wins in Doha

Dunedin Swimmer Erika Fairweather Wins in Doha

Erika Fairweather has won her maiden swimming world championship title with victory in the women’s 400m freestyle final in Doha. The 20-year-old from Dunedin is the first New Zealander to win…