This past month, the fashion world has been FULL of inspiration!
Instead of perpetuating the idea that models must be abnormally tall and skinny to represent major designers, more and more brands are buying into the idea of marketing directly to the consumer — by recruiting models of ALL shapes and sizes!
And during this year’s New York Fashion Week, history was made when Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, a model who’s been wheelchair-bound since age five due to muscular atrophy, modeled for the Carrie Hammer runway.
Danielle is the FIRST-EVER model in a wheelchair to grace a catwalk at NYFW! Wow!!
The career clinical psychologist and 2012’s Ms. Wheelchair New York talked about the significance of her appearance, saying:
“I feel like the industry has gotten more accepting of diversity but you never hear of a model in a wheelchair and it’s just ludicrous. I would like the whole spectrum of fashion designers to tune in, all the way up to high fashion like Tory Burch, Gucci and Louis Vuitton because, why not? Many of us have successful careers and we have money and we want to spend it and we want to look good.”
And the runway diversity didn't stop at Danielle — in fact, Hammer's ENTIRE runway was made up of "role models" instead of "fashion models"! Dr. Danielle was surrounded by CEOs, entrepreneurs, and a former Miss USA when she made her runway debut.
So why not take that positive sentiment to the runways??
On what the runway was like:
“I remember tons and tons of flashbulbs going off and people applauding a lot. The consensus afterwards was that the models, all of us, we exuded this happiness and pride that infiltrated the room, and the audience reacted.”
On her self-perception and how that translated to the runway:
“My wheelchair is just a part of my body – an extension of me – and I’m the main focus, not the chair. That’s how I look at it and I moved that perspective to the runway.”
On why it's important to include different body types on the runway:
“Fashion is about dressing the body that you have. It doesn’t matter what disability you have, or if you have one. It’s about knowing what to accentuate. It’s important for the fashion industry to demonstrate how to do this because we really have no role models out there in terms of the fashion industry. The only way we can really normalize being in a wheelchair and increase acceptance is if everyone is listening.”
The designer, Carrie Hammer, on the success of her "role model" idea:
“There was an energy and sense of thrill that I’d never felt before at a fashion show. For Fall Fashion week we will have our second Role Model fashion show at Lincoln Center and the first row won’t be media or buyers– it will be young girls and women who will learn that role models are the ones to look up to. The brands that step up to the plate by casting women who better and more accurately represent their customers will get big kudos and recognition. At the end of the day, aren’t our customers what we do this for? Let be sure that we are empowering them rather than demoralizing them.”
Are you inspired yet???
Because WE are!!
[Image via Getty Images.]
Tags: body, carrie hammer, diversity, dr. danielle sheypuk, fashion show, fashion smashion, fashion week, inspiration, models, muscular atrophy, new york, nyfw 2014, walk it out, wheelchair, wheelchair model