Beauty And The “Beast” – An Interview About Life And Disabled Fashion
Disability Is A Matter Of Perception
How many times have you looked at a disabled person and thought:
“How do they do it?! I could never live with no legs or no sight“.
But then, you look at them having quite normal lives, doing the things that you and I can do like painting, playing basketball, swimming and all those wonderful things in life.
When I was boxing, I had one opponent that was missing half a hand. He wore a glove over his amputated elbow and we fought until the end. It was one of the best fights I have ever had.
“Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you’re needed by someone.”
Over the course of the last few months I have met a few wonderful people through Instagram, that help me change my perspective about the world but also the lack of accessibility and branding for disabled fashion.
Emil is one of the most inspirational humans I have met in recent times. Today he is here to share a story with you. Not a story about his disability, but a story about how style impacts his life as a passion and joy.
In today’s article, “An Interview About Life And Disabled Fashion” Emil will show you why you should love yourself first, inspire others and remind you that we are all people above all.
Emil! I am so glad to be able to host you here! Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself (and the Beast!)
First of all I’d like to thank Kostas for featuring me here, I appreciate it.
My name is Emil Levin, I’m currently 24 years old and I was born with a great interest in dressing well. Now what I was also born with was a disease called SMA 2. It’s not the most pleasant of diseases but it will have to do! What it basically does is slowly breaking down muscles.
Luckily I have my great companion, The Beast (my wheelchair), who carries me wherever I want to go!
Judging by your Instagram, you are always stylish! What was your influence to begin caring about the way you dress every day?
Ever since I was a kid I cared deeply about my appearance. Since my mum was a hairdresser I was always the kid with cool hairstyles, hair colours and so on. It wasn’t until I was around 14 that I really started to slowly realise that dressing well can actually change people’s opinion about you.
The clothes I wore then were way different compared to what I prefer wearing now. We are talking baggy jeans and that kind of stuff!
A few years later I was saved by the YouTube channel RMRS – Real Men Real Style, where I learned a lot about a style I did not know that much about.
Let’s talk a bit more about your kind of style. How would you describe it? Is there a particular look that you prefer?
I like to describe my current style as “the dapper style”. My favourite look is probably the three piece outfit! Every suit gets better with a waistcoat in my opinion.
I agree very much with you on this one. A waistcoat is such a timeless classic! That being said, is there something you consider should be in every man’s closet?
I’ve always been of the opinion that everyone can and should dress how they want to, but they should be aware of the effects clothes really have on their overall appearance.
A suit is always a welcoming sight in a man’s wardrobe. Even if you never wear one, it is always a good decision to acquire at least one for special occasions such as funerals and weddings.
It is true that our clothes can have a profound impact on how others perceive us. Disabled fashion is something that is not the easiest to find. Do you have any favourite companies or recommendations for people on wheelchairs?
I do have 2 favourite companies. They do not necessarily make the perfect clothes for people in wheelchairs as we all have different bodies, but Tailor Store makes great shirts and Black Lapel fantastic suits.
The world is seeing a shift towards casual and relaxed work environments. Is there some kind of modern trend that you dislike or would never see you using?
When it comes to trends there is especially one which I dislike, sneakers with a suit. I know, I know, someone can definitely pull it off well, but overall it’s a no from me!
They are certainly not for everyone. I have a pair of suede sneakers but I prefer using them with suit separates. This brings me to the next topic, Photos and Instagram! You manage to take some great photographs! Who is the one taking them and do you have any tips for aspiring Instagramers?
My Instagram is a current passion for me and I truly enjoy it. It’s more about the process than the result.
Taking a shot with the help of my assistant (who holds the camera), editing it and seeing your creation come to life brings me joy!
I honestly feel like an artist. However, I wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means on Instagram; just doing what I enjoy and hopefully creating some valuable content for people! I guess that is my advice for anyone who would like to grow their accounts: Create value and enjoy the process.
I think enjoying the process is vital. You must like what you do otherwise it becomes a chore. Instead of “I have to take a photo today” it should be “I want to take a photo today!” Emil, when I look at you I see a man that is in peace with himself. Would you say your disability helped you be who you are?
My disability has definitely helped me to become the man I am today. I fear I would not be as humble as I am if it weren’t for that! Every day is a journey that you must take to strengthen the mind, which is one of my focuses.
Truly inspirational words. I know that Style is important to you, but it looks that there is much more to you as a person. Are there any other hobbies you care for?
Besides Instagram I have three major hobbies. The first one is video games since it’s really relaxing and allows me to compete with the same circumstances as the others. The other two are reading books and learning new languages. The latter has become a major interest during the last year, and I am slowly progressing in Italian and Japanese!
Languages are something that I deeply care about too. It can really broaden your mind. I have a million questions I could ask you, but let’s close this interview with the most important one. What would be your message to the rest of the world?
Now if there is one thing I want to point out it would be to not let your circumstances determine your results. I always see people blaming some fault that is not their own. And it is true, sometimes life gives you a bad hand, it can be really hard but…a bad hand can still be a winning one.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this, have a great one people!
Emil’s Story Is One Of Hope
Eye opening and emotional is one of the many ways I can describe my experience with Emil. It helps me raise awareness, change my perspective to the world and stop seeing disability as a hindrance, but rather an opportunity.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Francis of Assisi
Today we are all here to learn. Go out there and Google SMA, Disabled Fashion, but also things like Wheelchair models or hashtags. You will be surprised. Think about that you might have all limbs, can walk or see, but people are Emil are more “whole” as a person.
If you visit his Instagram, you will see a happy man, living a normal life every day, full of smiles and positivity. And as he said, we must play with the cards that life has dealt to us.
It was a wonderful experience and more interviews are on the cards. In the meantime, here’s a reminder on how to buy your first suit!
Now get back up and believe. You can fight anything.
Thank you for reading,