Former fashion designer and mother of a child with muscular dystrophy, Mindy Scheier, saw that people with disabilities were being overlooked and forgotten in the fashion world.
She wanted to change this — and did so by creating the foundation “Runway of Dreams” whose goal is to promote inclusion, acceptance, opportunity, and expanding the reach of adaptive clothing.
On Tuesday night, Runway of Dreams held an adaptive clothing fashion show at Carpool Cinemas in Wynwood, Miami.
“Mainstream adaptive clothing is important and understanding that people come in all different shapes sizes and abilities,” said Scheier, “And adjustments can be made to clothing to make it easier to be dressed so that everyone has a choice and can show up to the world and exactly the way that they want.”
In 2016, Runway of Dreams and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made history by partnering to develop the first-ever adaptive clothing line for kids called Tommy Adaptive. Now Zappos Adaptive, Stride Rite, and Kohls have jumped aboard as well.
Models with all different types of disabilities, ethnicities and ages took to the catwalk in Tuesday night’s fashion show.
Athlete and author Chris Ruden was born with limb issues and diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 19.
“My biggest desire from a show like this is to have that kid or that adult who never felt confident, never felt the potential that they truly have, to see me or see one of the other people walking and know that it’s possible, that it’s probable and that they can create a life quality of life regardless of their circumstances,” Ruden said.
N’SYNC star Joey Fatone hosted the show and his daughter Kloey, who is on the autism spectrum, walked the runway for the first time.
“This is the first time she’s ever doing a runway. Are you nervous?” Fatone asked his daughter.
“A little bit,“ Kloey answered. “I do not want to trip and fall and embarrass myself.”
“You won’t. You’ll never embarrass yourself,” her father replied.
Paula Carozzo, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of five, said Runway of Dreams brings people with disabilities like her to center stage in more ways than one.
“My life has had many challenges, but one of the challenges I saw the most was not being represented enough in the media, in fashion, and in the entertainment industry and that’s what I’m here to do today,” she said.
For more information on the foundation, go to runwayofdreams.org.