Shifting Perception of Disability
Joanne Blesing a disability advocate and designer who has just become a winner in the SA Woman Awards 2022! Peoples Choice Heart Award!!!
In the last year, always creative yet frustrated by dull, drab and limited clothing options available for those with disabilities, she started her own clothing line in bright colours, easy and adaptable fastenings which not only look fabulous but make it easy for carers to dress their clients with dignity and …… style.
Then she went on to start an amazing fashion parade called ImageShift to drive a change in perception about and for those with disabilities, helping those with disabilities to understand what it is to feel beautiful again, and sadly, some for the first time in many years.
The stories and testimonials from some of the models has been incredibly moving and it is all because of Jo’s vision and passion to make a difference, along with her own incredible drive and dedication to not being perceived as a victim herself.
Image Shift Fashion Parade is a community event spearheaded by Joanne Blesing. Aiming to empower the Disability Community through participation, experience in the world of Beauty, Fashion, Press and Photography.
An immersion into the world of fashion, joy, pride and of course beauty, in turn celebrating Disability.
'Shifting the Perception' is about seeing Disability through different eyes. Seeing beauty and sparkle, while offering a bigger understanding of how a disability can have a massive impact on beauty, choice and even dressing - more than you might even imagine.
The parade is one day, but the effect will be long lasting.
This is how Jo creates Image Shift.
Typing with a headmouse,
letter by letter, stroke by stroke.
A Word from the Creator
Inspired and created by Joanne Blesing.
I strive to create a strong understanding, awareness and equality of disability in Adelaide,
through politics, advocacy, leadership, and motivational speaking.
I strive to show that disability does not have to be considered as unfair, however, that life is - just as it is. Shifting perception firstly requires understanding, then acceptance, then action.
It only takes one to make a difference.
Shifting Perception of Disability
Joanne Blesing is passionate about advocating for people living with a disability and especially being a voice for the voiceless to ensure that not only are their needs met, but that they are included as a matter of course, not as a tacked on after-thought.
Living with Multiple Sclerosis since 2004 has necessitated Joanne drawing on her professional life experience, with a corporate background, to negotiate the disability sector.
As a Designer , Joanne managed her own business and prior to her illness she had 20 years of architectural design, project management, contract negotiations, and senior management corporate consulting. It is this background that has prepared her for moving forward and staying independent in the community.
Being virtually quadriplegic through secondary Multiple Sclerosis, Joanne does not receive enough government funding to cover either her showers or meals.
“In a state like South Australia it is totally unacceptable that the current disability support system is so woefully underfunded, unfair and inefficient,” says Ms Blesing.
“It is only by sheer will and determination, that I have come as far as I have, and it is for this reason that I believe those of us with the capability must speak on behalf of all those whose voices are not heard.
18months ago, Joanne suffered a near fatal serious accident when , due to lack of funding, her overdue replacement equipment failed and threw her. Joanne has been bed ridden, unable to move and in extreme pain due to the Multiple Sclerosis deterioration, not able to get out, not able to drive a chair, but more significantly not able to type until 2 weeks ago.
Again through sheer determination of character Joanne has ridden above her circumstances and the first project created is a community awareness fashion parade for Shifting Perception of disability, showing disability in the light of beauty and awareness (this website).
During the year in bed Joanne put together a fashion range of clothing for disabled (or abled) , making a fashion Parade a perfect opportunity for Joanne to offer this for others.
We all need positive role models. I have the opportunity to inspire and motivate others, both disabled and the able bodied and I have the ability to influence positively the outcome.”
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”