Last month it was revealed that Jillian Mercado, a 26-year-old fashion editor with muscular dystrophy, had been cast as the face of Diesel, appearing in the brand’s global advertising campaigns. Ms Mercado told reporters that she wanted the ad to ‘give hope to people who are maybe saying, “My life is over” because they are disabled. You can totally do it, nothing should be stopping you.’
Now it seems that other big brand companies want to open the door to people with disabilities, as New York Fashion Week marks the first time ever that a model has gone down the runway in a wheelchair. Dr Danielle Sheypuk made her debut in the Carrie Hammer show last Thursday, wearing a black sweater and newspaper-printed skirt from the label’s fall collection.
Asked about the decision to use Dr Sheypuk as a model, Ms Hammer – a designer who specializes in custom pieces – had this to say;
‘[I] made the decision to cast role models not runway models. It is so important to me that women have positive body image and are empowered in work and their life. My line makes dresses to fit women. We don’t make dresses that women need to fit into.’
Dr Sheypuk was named Ms Wheelchair New York in 2012 and admitted that the fashion industry is difficult to break in to, but believes progress is being made slowly. She was born with spinal muscular atrophy, and has been in a wheelchair since the age of two.
‘It’s just time to include people with disabilities. It’s 2014, people with disabilities are an untapped consumer market in terms of fashion. We read the magazines, shop in stores, but nothing is ever pitched to us.’
Dr Sheypuk’s runway debut is just the latest move by the fashion industry to bring disabled models into the fold and not before time if you ask us!! Fashion is something that’s personal to everyone, and an individual’s style is a huge part of their life, no matter who the person is!!
(images and source – Huffpost, DailyMail)