Fashion is finally starting to get that no body is perfect. This week, career-fashion-focused designer, Carrie Hammer debuted its first-ever model in a Wheelchair and DKNY used ‘real women’ (real women used in quotes because, contrary to popular belief, models are real women) along with models. While this sounds earth-shattering, it was seven years ago that I witnessed the late Charles Nolan doing the exact same thing as Donna Karan did this week when he used non-models in his show. With how accessible fashion has become this turn of events is a good thing and it is clearly picking up momentum.
The model in the wheelchair at Hammer’s, who wanted to use ‘role models’ and not ‘runway models’, show is Danielle Sheypuk, a woman who has been in a wheelchair since the age of two and currently involved in Raw Beauty Project, a collaboration between 10 photographers and 22 women with disabilities. Raw Beauty is an innovative visual arts project designed to inspire the public to create new perceptions, transform stereotypes and breakthrough personal obstacles by expanding awareness of women with physical challenges.
Its just not the human form that is changing in fashion, mannequins are too. There was a recent article that said we’ll be seeing more realistic mannequins in the windows of our favorite stores with body features like back fat, saggier breasts, thicker waists and even tattoos.
And if you really want some real body mannequin inspiration, and a quick way to really appreciate those minimal body flaws you can’t stop complaining about, watch this video entitled “Because who is perfect? Get closer.” Pro Infirmis, a Swiss charity, designed to provoke reflection on the acceptance of people with disabilities, creates mannequins to raise awareness that there is no perfect body. Director Alain Gsponer has captured the campaign as a short film. As one woman said in the film, after seeing a mannequin with with her exact body shape,’It’s special to see yourself like this, when you usually can’t look at yourself in the mirror.
I hope that the change in how fashion presents itself evokes the same reaction from others. Watch the video below.