While we all know there is no "normal" or "perfect" body type, those in fashion often have us believing otherwise. Fortunately, there are some in the industry working to change those harmful messages and create a more inclusive space. One group in particular need of representation in the fashion world is people with disabilities, and thankfully there are designers, photographers, models, and more, making sure this group is not overlooked.
One designer, Lucy Jones, created a line for those in wheelchairs, earning her the Parsons Graduate prize in 2015. Jones stated, "It started when a professor of mine challenged us to do something that would change the world. I thought: 'How can I do that? This is fashion.'" After seeing how many people's needs were being overlooked, she added, "I couldn't believe no one had tried to fix that."
There are so many groups that have yet to be represented in the fashion industry, but there have also been plenty of people guiding the industry's spotlight toward those who have been neglected for so long.
Because there are so many types of disabilities, integrating all of them into fashion is a big job. A man named Chaitenya Razdan is up for the challenge. Razdan became the co-founder of a line called Care + Wear. This line produces wheelchair gloves, shirts, special sleeves and more stylish and comfortable apparel for patients undergoing different treatments.
"What you wear has a profound impact on your psyche. It can make you feel like yourself again at a time when it's easy to feel like things are out of your control." Says Razdan.
With more and more people highlighting those with disabilities in fashion, the revolution has spread from the streets to the runway.
After enduring so much body prejudice within our society, it's hard to publicly alter the views of millions. However, by using high fashion in a runway setting, models with disabilities are able to showcase their abilities.
FTL MODA, one fashion week production company, brings together different designers to showcase their new lines. But what makes this unique company stand out among the rest is their models: The FTL MODA shows feature models with varying abilities to strut their stuff on the runway.
One model, Madeline Stuart, who was born with Down syndrome, has quickly shown the world what it truly means to use fashion as an outlet for inclusion. "Madeline does modeling because that's her platform and we can raise awareness, so people don't feel isolated," her mother told Aljezeera. "But this is about charity, this is about inclusion, this is about diversity."
Fashion truly is an amazing platform to show the world how multidimensional the concept of beauty is.
Olivia Waldorf is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles
Courtesy of Fashion Week Los Angeles.