Sophie Morgan's Mannequal®: A Revolution in the Fashion Industry

by Cheryl Price
Sophie Morgan
Do you ever find yourself strolling through a shopping mall, looking in each store window to see which clothes you can visualize yourself wearing? But that shimmering black gown or skinny jeans paired with flowing top may not look the same on those of us who use wheelchairs. It’s time we see a clearer reflection of ourselves in those windows, don’t you think?

UK model and artist Sophie Morgan surely agrees, as she developed the brilliant Mannequal®, (a combination of the words ‘mannequin’ and ‘equal’): a non-moving fiberglass model of a wheelchair that any male or female mannequin can sit in, which can slot into any in-store or window display and can also be used online.. This revolutionary product is the first of its kind, and helps to call an end to disability discrimination. Ms. Morgan explains, “All disabled people shop, so we should be represented in the stores we shop in, simple as that!” Using the Mannequal® to display an item of clothing in a seated position will help the customer make a more informed decision on how clothing will appear.

Sophie’s passion for fashion and inclusion in this powerful industry started after she was featured on the BBC show “Britain’s Missing Top Model” (B.M.T.M]. The series aired in 2009 and featured a group of disabled women competing for a modeling contact. In “B.M.T.M,” all eleven eight girls were disabled in one way or another. Sophie recalls, “I came runner-up on the show, and left feeling that it was very important that disability representation on the high street should be improved. I thought about how to represent each and every disability and realized that that would be too hard, so I decided that the best way to try and reflect the entire disabled community, regardless of condition, would be to create a product based on the internationally recognized symbol of the disabled – the wheelchair.”

The motivation and determination that has aided Sophie in her creation of Mannequal® have always been evident in her character.. Sophie was in a car accident at 18, paralyzed from the chest down. Sophie explains, “I was on my way to study Law at University, but everything changed overnight. I woke up in hospital a few months later and decided that life was too short and that I should follow my heart into a career that I would love, so I enrolled in Art school and haven’t looked back!” And Sophie surely is moving a rapid rate! Her creation of the Mannequal® is revolutionary, relevant and important to the disabled community and fashion industry as a whole.

Selling her product is a challenging task, but one Sophie is ready to tackle. She explains, “I was extraordinarily lucky to begin with as Debenhams, one of the largest department stores in the UK, expressed support for the idea and asked to showcase it in their Oxford street window. But that has come and gone, and I am now working on getting it into the other retailers’ displays. At the moment the Mannequal® is due to be featured in the world’s first adaptive clothing shop, ‘Iz’ by Izzy Camilleri in Toronto, Canada. The clothing is amazing!” As for future plans for Mannequal®, Sophie’s dream remains strong: “Its place has yet to be found in the high street shops that I dream it to be in…its only a matter of time, though! I can’t say it has been easy, or pleasant at times, but all change takes time to implement, and I am up for the fight! This is not an easy sell, and trying to open the minds of some of the people in power in the fashion industry to this concept is a serious challenge. But I think that living life as a paraplegic provides you with the tools you need to get through any adversity.”
Marketing and selling Mannequal® requires a lot of time and focus, but Sophie manages to conquer much more on a daily basis: “I am studying a Psychology degree and am about to start a Masters in Arts Therapy. I am also developing various Television productions with the BBC and training as a television presenter. Of course my artwork is very important to me, and I am constantly working on portrait commissions, or planning for exhibitions (which I never seem to have time for!). I am also writing a book and traveling a lot. Where I’ll end up I have no idea, my life so far has taught me that you can never make plans, but instead do the things that make you happy right now, and the rest will work itself out!”

Many of us with disabilities can relate to Sophie’s desire to make a difference where inclusion and perceptions are concerned. We’d all love to be viewed as ‘equal’ in society and Sophie is right, the fashion industry plays a significant role in achieving this monumental change. She elaborates: “The power that the industry wields is beyond its own understanding. The presence of Mannequal® would have the affect of normalizing disability better than anything else that has happened before. Young disabled men and women need to feel less ostracized, and people need to accept imperfection and diversity as natural. In addition to that, if the fashion industry were to start to include disabled models to represent disability in its shop windows and catalogues, then we would finally be able to prove that a juxtaposition of disability and beauty can and does exist!”

While many of us continue to glance in store windows and use our imaginations as best we can to visualize ourselves in clothing, we can rest assured that Mannequal® exists and is on its way. With Sophie Morgan’s drive and work ethic, it’s only a matter of time until our true reflections are present in store windows worldwide!

For more information about Mannequal®, please visit, or contact


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