Last week, tens of thousands of fashionistas flocked to New York City for the most talked about fashion event of the year: Fashion Week. Designers put together over-the- top events to display their new fall designs and models confidently walked the runways to show them off. Most of the models at many of the shows were your typical New York Fashion Week model: Poised, stick thin, and with an elegance to them that most women could only dream of achieving. However, things started to change a little bit this past Fashion Week: There were more disabled and plus-sized models who graced the runways.
I’m sure you’ve all heard about Madeline Stuart, the Australian teen model with Down Syndrome who became a social media sensation. She was one of the models who rocked the runway and absolutely killed it. She walked for FTL Moda, whose show at Fashion Week featured many disabled models, including those mentioned below.
You can check out Stuart strutting her here.
Here are a couple of fabulous ladies who also walked the FTL Moda show with Stuart:
Marine, aka “Bionic Model,” was born without her right forearm, but that never stopped her. She has been modeling for six years now. Marine started modeling after she received her bionic arm. This season, Marine walked for the labels Anna’s Loud and Archana Kochhar.
Model Shaholly Ayers was born without her lower right arm. She was told she could never be a model, but she proved all of her haters wrong. She has done multiple magazine covers and commercials. This was her first NYFW debut at the FTL Moda show.
Here are some other highlights from the FTL Moda Show:
The FTL Moda proved that you don’t need to look a certain way in order to be a model. As long as you follow your dreams, you can achieve ANYTHING. These wonderful people heard that they could never be models because of their disabilities. Boy did they prove them all wrong.
Another huge thing at Fashion Week was that more and more plus-size models were appearing in fashion shows, and it wasn’t just plus-size brands using plus-size models (although Lane Bryant’s show was fantastic #Plusisequal)
Ashley Graham’s Lingerie Collection
These are just some of the examples of plus-size models walking the runway in non plus-size brands. Of course, the plus-size models were in the minority, but at least plus-size models are starting to be increasingly represented.
Any representation in huge, global events like these is a huge step in the right direction. More and more women of all different shapes and sizes are starting to emerge in the fashion industry. Having models with disabilities is also progress since you usually don’t often see these types of models in advertising campaigns or in the media.
Sure, New York Fashion Week is not perfect in representation. However, the variety of models appearing in the 2015 shows is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope we see just as many, if not more, of these models represented at the next New York Fashion Week, as well as on runways around the world.