Published by Teen Vogue

In fashion, the lack of representation for people with different abilities is a major problem with far-reaching consequences. For Elsie Tellier, it’s something she’s had to deal with her whole life. The 20-year-old Harvard student has Cystic Fibrosis which is a terminal illness that mostly affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal system. Due to complications from her disease, she often has to use a wheelchair to get around. As a fashion lover turned fashion blogger, she had difficulty finding outfits she could wear comfortably in a wheelchair. As a way to combat this and be a representative for people with disabilities, she decided to change her mindset. In a viral tweet, she explained, “For those confused! I’m not paralyzed, I use a wheelchair for a damaged vestibular system + joint problems! I used to use it daily but now I walk a lot more! When I’m in my chair I take pics bc I used to feel ugly in my chair and want to show that you can still be fashionable!”

In the images of her rocking incredibly stylish looks, Elsie’s wheelchair is painted with a galaxy on one side and flowers on the other to match her overall aesthetic. She told Teen Vogue, “I see fashion as a starting point. For a lot of people, disability can seem foreign, but fashion serves as a way to break down barriers that differences can create. Disabled people are the world’s largest minority but have the least representation. I have always fun that by dressing in a fun way that makes me feel great, people have the opportunity to strike up conversations on the street about what I’m wearing and my style.”

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