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Culture

Where do you buy your clothes?

By Eilidh Bremner
Eilidh Bremner
First job in a fashion company, have always aspired to own a Chanel handbag, but for now working from home in my stylish pyjamas.
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Where do you buy your clothes?
For most this question would be a testament to their style, for me it's asked out of curiosity and often surprise that I, a 27 year old woman who stands at 3ft 11 isn’t dressed in a t-shirt with a glittery unicorn on it. I have and will always be asked these types of questions because it’s in human nature to be inquisitive and notice differences. In fact, 10 years ago I travelled to America to attend the Little People of America convention, which sees 2,500 people from all over the world who have one of the over 200 types of Dwarfism, meet for a week. I remember being absolutely floored by the sheer number and variation of conditions and a few times caught myself wondering, ‘they’re a lot smaller than me, how do they manage doing X and Y?’ 
 
Ultimately I readily answer any questions about my height because I believe awareness and education is the only way to end ignorance- however there are limits though. Imagine my shock and disbelief when the Managing Director of a company I was interviewing at asked me how I was able to clothe myself and how I managed with public transport! Before this, the recruiting process had been lengthy. It saw me going up and down the country twice for numerous different interviews and the meeting with the MD was the last stage. I answered them, of course, albeit rather awkwardly. But I realised that as much as I wanted the job I didn’t want to work for a company who’s senior staff displayed such blatant prejudice towards diversity. 
 
Joining a new company is daunting enough, but when you have a physical disability, that underlying worry of how your new colleagues are going to perceive you is even more pronounced. Those general first day nerves coupled with, "oh god, please let no one crouch down to speak to me.” As I started in March, the beginning of lockdown, 9 months on I’m yet to meet most of my colleagues in real life. I still found myself wondering, "is it obvious that I have dwarfism when you can only see above my neck?” I came to realise that they see me as just Eilidh and those questions in my head gradually quietened. 
 
I’ve never worked at a company where the importance of cultivating a positive and inclusive culture was on the agenda. In the early days of me starting, this is what struck me most about FARFETCH. That the values we project externally on our website and our LinkedIn are truly part of our internal makeup. I saw first hand how senior staff and the People Team embodied these values earlier in the year with the dedication shown to Black Lives Matter movement. I remember thinking at the time: "This. This is how you create a positive culture, with diversity and inclusion at the forefront.”

It was not long after that the Disabled Network was formed and I jumped at the opportunity to join as one of the organisers. I won’t lie, at the beginning I did have some reservations. I was joining a community which was formed to speak for a marginalised group of society and yet I was the only one at the time, that I knew of, with a defined, visible physical disability. It made me question what gave me the right to speak on behalf of someone who uses a wheelchair? Or someone with an Autism Spectrum disorder? It took the first meeting for me to realise that we weren’t speaking for them, but listening and amplifying their varied voices. We had come together as a group with a shared passion to fully embed accessibility throughout the employee journey, for those with any kind of physical, mental, visible or invisible health need or experience. We recognise the diversity within diversity of this group and the need to also reach out to those who care for children or family members who have disabilities or health needs.  And that is the crux of being a Farfetcher, compassion for others and going above and beyond for all. After all, one of our values is Todos Juntos. 
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