In an industry that plays with visual language Isabel MacInnes is highlighting non-visible disabilities. By creating a giant version of the Sunflower lanyard, MacInnes is opening up a conversation around accessibility and understanding of difference within the field of Fashion Design.

A symbol of support and awareness

The Sunflower lanyard has become a symbol of hidden disabilities, a discreet way for individuals to indicate that they have a non-visible disability without the need for an explanation. MacInnes' decision to magnify this symbol, both literally and metaphorically highlights a feeling of wanting to take up space and render the invisible visible.

Her creation serves as a powerful reminder of fashion as a vehicle for change. The giant Sunflower lanyard is not just an accessory; it is a statement of solidarity and recognition of the challenges faced by individuals with non-visible disabilities.

McInnes is urging everyone to take a moment to consider the unseen challenges that many face:

"I myself have used this lanyard for a few years now, to help navigate public meltdowns and painful moments with ease and peace.In situations where I have used the Sunflower, I have received kindness, assistance and understanding from staff and the public alike. Using the strengths that come from both mine and my brother’s neurodivergence, we collaboratively blew up the Sunflower lanyard to 10 times the size with a fabricated strap and 3D-printed clasps. I hope that it can raise awareness about the use of this lanyard as a tool for anyone with hidden disabilities.”

The giant Sunflower

Isabel MacInnes' project raises awareness of hidden disabilities using skills learnt in the field of fashion design. It challenges us to rethink our perceptions, educate ourselves and to recognise the role that each of us can play in making the world a more inclusive and understanding place.

Isabel with giant green lanyard with yellow sunflowers clipped to a giant Hidden Disabiltiies Sunflower card  Back of Isabel with giant green lanyard with yellow sunflower drapped over her.


About Isabel McInnes

MacInnes Un*Limited centres around traditional pattern-making techniques - distorting, twisting, enlarging, and bubbling men's pattern blocks onto the “female” body. Blowing up a traditional men’s everyday uniform - suits, overcoats, shirts and the classic non-gendered blue jeans white tee trope.

I oddify these looks with precisely engineered, blown-up everyday objects, employing future technologies with 3D printing, CNC milling and physical FX elements.
I am very proud to be neurodivergent and have a mild physical disability which heavily informs my practice and I adapt the way I work to suit my specific needs.

Via my own complex and, at times, unsteady path through the industry, my mission is to intelligently include and support others with hidden disabilities via mini-collaborative projects.

To find out more about Isabel, click here to go to instagram.