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Selma Blair Helps QVC Reach Customers with Disabilities

QVC is trying to make accessibility-related products more, well, accessible.

Approximately 15 percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. And according to the Census Bureau, roughly 57 million Americans live with a disability—Tommy Hilfiger‘s research found that this figure is somewhere around is one in five Americans. And that marginalized group has an estimated spending power of nearly $500 billion, according to a 2018 report from the American Institutes for Research.

Despite this, adaptive fashion remains a relatively niche market; McKinsey’s 2023 State of Fashion 144-page report contained not a single mention of adaptive or accessible fashion. This is even though the adaptive clothing market is projected to be worth $400 billion by 2026, according to Coherent Market Insights, a global market intelligence and consulting organization. This is up 145 percent from a 2019 study by Coresight Research.

But some retailers are taking action.

QVC has expanded its commitment to growing its accessible and adaptive assortments, streamlining how customers find and explore them, and enhancing the accessibility of its end-to-end shopping experience. The Qurate Retail-owned company has named actor, author and disability advocate Selma Blair as its brand ambassador for accessibility.

QVC has launched a dedicated accessible and adaptive category—with hundreds of products spanning fashion, home, electronics and beauty—making it one of the first U.S. retailers to curate a full lifestyle of accessible products into a single multicategory offering. It’s highlighting accessible products within each category and has launched a one-stop digital storefront for these products, with solution-based navigation and options to filter by adaptive features.

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In addition, the home shopping staple has introduced “Accessible Living,” an on-air show focused on essential home products that simplify everyday tasks and promote independent living. Across all v-commerce (or video commerce) programming, QVC is demonstrating product accessibility features more frequently while representing the disability, aging, post-surgery and recovery, and caregiving communities in product presentations and photography. The retailer is also conducting a 360-degree review of all customer touchpoints—from its advertising to v-commerce platforms, delivery processes and more—and making changes to increase accessibility and ensure a barrier-free customer experience.

“We believe everyone deserves inclusive shopping experiences, services and products that make them feel seen, including the millions of Americans who are living with a disability; aging in place or in assisted living; recovering from a surgery, illness or injury; or supporting others as a caregiver,” Rachel Ungaro, GMM and VP of fashion merchandising for QVC, said. “Our goal is to meet each customer where they are in the arc of life and empower them to express their own unique style. We plan to expand our offerings in our accessible and adaptative category by attracting new brands to QVC, widening our relationships with existing vendors and developing proprietary products and brands.”

QVC said it has a long-standing commitment to customer inclusivity. From its launch, QVC has offered fashion in a wide range of women’s sizes, with the same pricing regardless of size. The expanded focus on accessibility reflects rising customer demand, particularly for fashion that offers more options without sacrificing style and form, and for home products that simplify day-to-day life, improve safety and promote independent living. QVC’s live, interactive v-commerce model gives the company robust insights into customer trends.

“When QVC approached me, I was so impressed and grateful that they were welcoming these conversations,” Blair said. “One of the basic comforts of our life is being able to have fun shopping and to find things we find beautiful and useful. There is a more vibrant way to showcase these products, and I’m so excited to join QVC in exploring what is out there for all of us.”

The “Cruel Intentions” actress announced her multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis in 2018 and has since been vocal about her health journey including projects such as the award-winning documentary “Introducing, Selma Blair,” which chronicled the Hollywood star adapting to new ways of living with the autoimmune disease. In 2017, she was named one of Time Magazine’s People of the Year as one of their Silence Breakers, worked with Google on its accessible marketing playbook, and appeared in campaigns for ChanelMiu-Miu and Marc Jacobs. Her disability advocacy earned her the Hollywood Reporter’s 2021 Equity in Entertainment Award and Media Access Award’s 2022 SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award and 2021 Visionary Award.

QVC’s landing page for women’s adaptive clothing and shoes. Courtesy

QVC has also joined forces with Maura Horton, a disability diversity and inclusion consultant affecting change through education, product development, strategic partnerships and embracing global inclusion. Horton’s roots are in product design and development, as she was a trailblazer in the adaptive fashion movement. After her husband was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease, Horton pioneered the concept of adaptive clothing that prioritized function and fashion equally. She founded MagnaReady, an adaptive apparel company that she sold in 2019 before shifting to overall inclusion work. She continues to be a driving force of the adaptive movement, working to develop holistically inclusive designs that span digital strategies, language guides and authentic representation in wellness, home, beauty, style and more.

“QVC’s livestream v-commerce platforms and relationships give the company a unique opportunity to be a changemaker in this space,” Horton said. “I see QVC as the ideal retailer to curate products and tell human stories that demonstrate the arc of life. I’m pleased to help QVC create safe spaces where people can find the resources they need and feel the security of knowing they are not alone.”

The task force leading QVC’s accessibility initiative includes team members from the disability and caregiving communities and QVC’s diversity, equity and inclusion team. The accessibility reflects QVC’s commitment to fostering inclusive environments and touches all aspects of the company’s operations. QVC has articulated commitments specific to disability inclusion as part of The Valuable 500, Qurate Retail Group’s commitment to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

QVC’s adaptive and accessible category comprises product offerings from over 170 brands, including Tommy HilfigerBilly FootwearVionic, Seven7 and Yarrow.

The next episodes of “Accessible Living” will be on QVC2 on March 14 and QVC on March 30.