The Models Who Are Overcoming Disability And Changing The Face Of Fashion
In 2014, Danielle Sheypuk was the the first model in a wheelchair was featured on a runway.“People with disabilities are an untapped consumer market in terms of fashion,” said Sheypuk, who’s also a clinical psychologist. “We read the magazines, shop in stores, but nothing is ever pitched to us.”
Since then, disabled might as well be the new black. Designer Carrie Hammer is behind the movement, with her show and NYFW event called: “Role Models Not Runway Models”. The show featured female CEOs, writers, actresses, entrepreneurs, and models with disabilities that never thought they’d be able to walk a runway—Jamie Brewer made fashion history when she was the first ever model with Down syndrome to walk a runway.
FTL Moda then featured models from all walks of life—25-year-old Jack Eyers, an amputee male model. In the press release for Antonio Urzi’s show, Jack said, “I just want to show that having a disability doesn’t need to hold you back. I want people to see me, and to realize that there needs to be more disabled models walking the runway.”
The runway isn’t the only place where beauty is being redefined. Jillian Mercado grew up with spastic muscular dystrophy—when she was young, a friend suggested to her that she post pictures of her on a blog—she never expected that the blog would go viral. Since then, Diesel’s featured her in the “We Are Connected” campaign.
According to the Huffington Post, “At first [Jillian] was scared and ‘prepared for the worst’ from people who ‘sit behind computers” and troll the Internet spraying abusive comments. However, after the ad ran she found an inspiring ‘outpouring of support. ‘Now that I have this opportunity, that the spotlight is on me, [and] I have the obligation to tell the world there are people like me.”