Clothes, fashion and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Aim: Through this action research, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) explore and reflect on changes in their lives through embodied memories of dress. Method: 16 people with IDD and 7 informal carers of a similar age participated in workshops facilitated by staff trained in delivering reminiscence work. Reminiscence memory boxes were provided containing items relating to fashion through the decades. Each participant brought items of clothing which were meaningful to them and talked about them in an informal context. All participants took part equally with carers offering support to individuals with IDD to exhibit their chosen items. Results: Four themes were identified: fashion and clothes linked to past positive and negative memories; wider associations made from fashion and clothing; fashion and clothing as an expression of personal identity; and the importance of personal choice of fashion and clothing. Conclusions: Clothes and fashion are important to how individuals with IDD perceive themselves, and how quality of life issues (I.e., choice and empowerment) are bound up in tangible items such as clothes. Heritage is helpful for exploring the identities of people with IDD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-782
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2016
EventGlobal Partnerships: Enhancing Research, Policy and Practice: Global Partnerships: Enhancing Research, Policy and Practice - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 14 Aug 201618 Aug 2016
Conference number: 15


  • Fashion
  • Learning (intellectual) disabilities
  • Heritage

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