Lees in het Nederlands

Last Thursday, February 12th, was the opening night of the semi-annual New York Fashion Week. In itself not a big news fact. It ìs a news fact though that this evening for the first time a model with Down syndrome walked the catwalk.

Cheap score

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ll admit: I have long doubted whether I would write this article. Although I’m pro-diversity among models represented in the media, it sometimes seems that designers and media portray models as ‘un-modelish’ as possible, purely to score headlines. In itself there is nothing bad with portraying these unconventional models it if the goal really is to ask attention for the underrepresentation of, for example, plus-size women, transgenders and dark models. Unfortunately, I often have my doubts as it regularly seems like the media just wants to score.

Limited abilities?

Anyway, I do like to share this fact about the model with Down syndrome that walked the catwalk last Sunday during the Carrie Hammer show at the New York Fashion Week opening night. Why? Because I had a good feeling with the full motives of the designer. I am for instance aware that people with Down syndrome have limited abilities at certain things in life. At first this also seems to be the case with modeling. Too bad, because modeling is so much fun! I can therefore imagine that walking the fashion show earlier this week is really fun for the woman with the Down’s syndrome.

Down’s syndrome and wheelchair

The model with Down’s syndrome is the 30-year-old actress Jamie Brewer. Jamie is known for her role in the hit US television series “American Horror Story.” Designer Carrie Hammer has been talked about in the media before regarding her clothing line “Role Models Not Runway Models”. Last year, she was the first designer to have a model in a wheelchair in her show. 

jamie beuer at new york fashion week

Jamie makes her entrance at the Carrie Hammer’s “Role Models Not Runway Models” fashion show – image source

Beauty according to Hammer

You may be wondering what the motive of the designer was to have a model with Down’s syndrome in her show, after she had a model in a wheelchair in het show before. After all, let’s be honest: this phenomenon is not very conventional. Designer Hammer explains:

“I think it’s important that women understand that beauty comes from power, personality, and accomplishments. The women we put on the runway are all at the top of Their respective fields.”

To support her statement, she therefore also had female CEOs, writers, actresses and businesswomen in her show.

Hammer furthermore indicates that she wants to show the reality with her choice of models. According to Hammer this contributes  to a more positive body image among women. After all: not everyone can meet the prevailing ideal of beauty. Hammer continues:

“I think this challenges what we’ve been seeing for way too long – Uniformity It’s time to see not just diversity -.. But reality.”

The above video features the Carrie Hammer fashion show. At 1:14 minutes you can see actress Jamie enter the catwalk and enjoy her moment.


What do you think about the increasing portrayal of non-conventional models (different from the standard image of a fashion model/beauty ideals) in the media?


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About Author

Hey! I'm Angela; a 30-something mommy and a now REAL #fitchick, digi nerd, photo & film shooter hobbyist, MSc specialized in Health Education, marketingspecialist and an international fashion model for 20 years. I've worked for eg. Viktor & Rolf, Nivea, Escada, Elle, Vogue and Glamour.

I write about everything that I find worth sharing. Go ahead an take a look around. Don't hesitate to share your thought sor opinions. Enjoy!

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