body image, disability, fashion, women with disability, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Purpose: Previous studies have highlighted the important role, fashion can play on one’s cognition and behaviour and how one’s body is impacted, especially people with disabilities. Due to the inconclusive results on the topic, we decided to undertake an empirical study in South Africa to determine how fashion can be used to help women with disabilities to deal with issues of body image, low esteem and negative mindset.

Literature review: The study reviewed the literature on body image and disability, body image and fashion as well as on fashion therapy and body image.

Methodology: The study adopted a qualitative research design while interviews were used as means of primary data collection. Data analysis was done by means of coding the participants’ responses before conclusions were drawn about the participants’ views. Findings: Findings reveal that fashion can help women with disabilities to deal with the issues related to low self-esteem and body image.

Implications: The study ends with recommendations to include other segments of the disabled community in the study, as well as to expand the study in the other parts of the country. The study adds a tremendous knowledge of how to better treat people with disability.

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