For Auckland: Grace Stratton on how accessibility is more than just building ramps
For Auckland is a new Spinoff podcast of civic conversations with people working to create and sustain a better Auckland for all. In episode three, host Timothy Giles speaks to Grace Stratton about accessibility, in fashion and in Auckland.
She’s launched a groundbreaking fashion business, been nominated for Young New Zealander of the Year, profiled in magazines including American InStyle – who named her one of their 50 Badass Women for 2019 – and is halfway through a law and communications degree. Nineteen year old Grace Stratton has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, and now she wants to shake up attitudes towards people with access needs with her new start-up, All is for All.
All is for All is an e-commerce platform, modelling agency and consultation service, with a core focus of making the world, fashion and otherwise, accessible.
Arriving to record this For Auckland podcast to be met with a broken lift and a long flight of stairs is indicative of the access issue she highlights, and it’s this kind of inaccessibility that inspired her business and sparked her passion for a more inclusive city.
Inclusion is the vision behind All Is For All. Stratton explains her passion stems from the constant challenges people with non-conforming bodies confront when trying to access fashion. Her solution is disarmingly simple: provide access-friendly descriptions and detail that buyers need when mobility and movement is an issue.
“I’ve been looking at models who are standing up my whole life,” she told Alex Casey in a recent interview. “Time to look at a model in a wheelchair for a while, you know?”
A newbie to business entrepreneurialism, Stratton knows All is for All is far from perfect, but she’s aware this won’t be its last evolution. Her aim is to develop the resource so it continues to encourage people to engage with, listen to and learn from people with access needs.
Stratton knows having to be adaptive and innovative in everyday environments means people with access problems have a lot to teach, and are exactly the people we need contributing to contemporary problem solving.
Her optimistic perspective on life and the good fortune she’s encountered, despite all the exclusion she faces, makes her a young Aucklander worth knowing about.