Skip To Content

    This Woman Is Taking On Disability Stigma With A Purple Cane And A Petition

    Liz Jackson started the #YesJCrewCane campaign to get J. Crew to sell stylish canes. And she's not taking no for an answer.

    Meet Liz Jackson, the Girl With the Purple Cane who wants to show the world that disability can be beautiful.

    Canes were once as integral to fashionable outfits as a bowler hat and a pair of spats.

    But now, most canes are clinical, impersonal and drab. But there's a untapped market for stylish canes, and it's not who you think. “It’s not just your grandma or grandpa who carries a cane," say the manufacturers of Top & Derby. "Think about it; injured athletes, post-operative patients, and yes, even celebrities like Brad Pitt, use walking canes when required.”

    If you’re wearing glasses right now, you probably don’t consider yourself disabled. You might not think of them as assistive technology, like canes and hearing aids. But that’s because glasses are cool again.

    Jackson has a lot of great reasons why J. Crew is the perfect store to sell canes.

    Jenna Lyons herself, President and Creative Director of J. Crew, uses a prosthetic: she has worn dentures since she was a kid, due to a condition called incontinentia pigmenti which affects skin and teeth.

    There are dozens more examples. Under Armor recently acquired the patent for a one-handed zipper. NPR added transcripts to their site for the hearing-impaired, and their traffic increased 7%. Inclusivity is a good business move.

    Jackson hopes that her petition creates an open dialogue and shows J. Crew and other retailers that a market exists.

    “All of us use assistive technology,” Jackson told BuzzFeed.

    As Jackson pointed out, there’s a precedent for Lyons responding to specific and well-founded requests: they put an old bathing suit style back into production because a New York Magazine reporter asked for it.

    Learn more about the campaign at Liz’s website and see the #YesJCrewCane petition here.