New York Fashion Week Runway Highlights “Role Models”

Article by Jessica SchianodiCola | esPResso Staff Writer

Image courtesy of Flickr/ Alex Naanou
Image courtesy of Flickr/ Alex Naanou

This year’s New York Fashion Week (NYFW) had people talking about more than just the upcoming trends. Several designers showcased their latest looks on models of all different backgrounds.

Carrie Hammer was one of the first designers to start this movement when she launched her “Role Models, not Runway Models” campaign at last year’s NYFW. To debut her first appearance in 2014, Hammer made the bold decision to only cast her clients as her models. According to Hammer in an interview for Forbes, these were the people who truly represented her brand: high-powered, inspiring role models. One of the models that particularly stuck out that year was Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, who became the first model in a wheelchair at NYFW.

Hammer continued her campaign for diversity at this year’s show by once again inviting her clients on stage, one of which included “American Horror Story” actress, Jamie Brewer. Brewer became the first model with Down Syndrome to walk in NYFW and told CNN that, “It’s a true inspiration being a role model for any young women to [encourage them] in being who they are and showing who they are.”

Several other designers and brands joined Hammer in changing the tide of the fashion industry, including Antonio Urzo, Kayne West, Desigual, FTL Moda and Chromat. Models of all different ethnicities, sizes and shapes were strutting their stuff on the runway that week. FTL Moda’s fashion show, titled “FTL Moda Loving You,” was praised for devoting a large portion of its show to people with disabilities and hiring models that were amputees, in wheelchairs or used canes.

As thrilled as many people seem to be about this positive change on the runway, there is the fear that this diversity is just another fleeting trend.


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