A group of models in line on the runaway, all tall, slim and white man and women, with different clother, the same hairdo, combed back.

Thumbnail: Flickr user Mohit D

New York Fashion Week

By Patricia Almeida


Consumers come in all sizes and shapes. Its only natural that all industries should cater for a diverse public. But why do we only see tall slim mostly white models in the runaway?

Fashion Week is the biggest platform to showcase something different and force a trickle-down effect all the way to department stores and each women’s view of fashion, says Girl Talk HQ

In 2013, the first plus size collection was showcased, with designer Eden Miller.

But the first inclusive show was at New York Fashion Week 2014, when Carrie Hammer decided to use their own costumers as "role models" on the catway. Among them was psychologist Danielle Sheypuk, who uses a wheelchair.


The show got a lot of attention, with stories in every major newspaper and the specialized media.


Sheypuk send the message: “I would like the whole spectrum of fashion designers to tune in, all the way up to high fashion like Tory Burch, Gucci and Louis Vitton because, why not?” Sheypuk said. “Many of us have successful careers and we have money and we want to spend it and we want to look good.”

Model Danielle Sheypuk, on the catwalk in her wheelchair. People wactching the show on the sides.

In 2015 happened the most inclusive New York Fashion Week ever, according to this article, by Stephanie Buck, 


The unofficial theme of New York Fashion Week is diversity



FEB 16, 2015


Diversity is very in this year. Let's hope it's not a passing trend.

New York Fashion Week is welcoming participants and models of many backgrounds this season. The runways are seeing more ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, sizes and abilities than ever before. 

"You have to focus on the opinions of yourself rather than on the opinions of others on yourself. It helps you lead a very happy life," model Winnie Harlow tells Mashable after she walked the Desigual show last Thursday. Harlow has a skin pigmentation disease called vitiligo, which causes patches of different coloring.

For all its innovation, the fashion industry hasn't traditionally been welcoming to "different" models like Harlow. Fashion models are still overwhelmingly white and extremely thin; major fashion designers tend to be men; and the clothes themselves favor body types the media deems "ideal."

To be fair, Fashion Week had a heads up that housecleaning was on the agenda. The past year has proved the world craves different backgrounds, especially in media and advertising — which, let's face it, are what keep fashion afloat. Tess Holliday is the first and largest plus-sized model to score a major contract, and social media demanded to know whether fashion magazine InStyle lightened Kerry Washington's skin for its cover. 

The tide certainly seems to be changing. Despite the dour weather, NYFW is bubbling with an undercurrent of joy. We have diversity to thank for it.

1. Jamie Brewer for Carrie Hammer









Actress Jamie Brewer made fashion history as the first model with Down syndrome to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week.



2. Kanye West, Yeezy for adidas Originals




















Say what you will about Kanye West's body sock fashion, but he filled the adidas Originals x Yeezy collaboration runway with models of all shapes, sizes, genders and ethnicities. 



3. Winnie Harlow for Desigual





















Canadian model Winnie Harlow led Desigual's fall/winter fashion show last week. Harlow was diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin pigmentation condition that also affected Michael Jackson.



4. Androgyny at Adam Selman                                             5. Laverne Cox at Go Red for Women






















Actress and transgender advocate Laverne Cox soared down the runway at the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Fashion Week event on Feb. 12. 



6. Models of all sizes for Chromat





















Models pose for a picture backstage at the Chromat fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015 at Milk Studios on Feb. 13, 2015. The plus-sized model third from right led the runway procession.



7. Disabled models for FTL Moda




A large portion of FTL Moda's fashion show was devoted to models with disabilities. For instance, British personal trainer Jack Eyers (left) was the first male amputee on the Fashion Week catwalks.



More pictures of disabled models NYFW 2015

Actress Jamie Brewer, who has Down syndrome, poses on the catwalk, wearing a black dress and red lipstick.
Models of various sizes and ethnies, wearing stockings, standing on the stage. The public is watching them on the background.
Model Winnie Harlow, who has vitiligo and different colours on the skin, poses and smiles to the camera.
Man in a short black dress, boots and scarf on his hair.
Actress and transgender advocate Lavender Cox in a red dress with a cape, walking the catwalk, with her long blond hair floating.
Six women of all sizer and ethnicities wearing black bikinis, dresses and maillots, in the dress room. They all have black painted eyebrows and poneytails.
Collage of 4 pictures of models on the catwalk: a man model with a leg prothesis, wearing black trousers, and a painting on his naked torso; a woman in a wheelchair wearing a blue chinese-like blue robe; a woman with a half amputated arm, painted in silver and wearing a black dress and a mask; a woman on a black outfit, with painted black stripe on her eyes, using a crutch.

Aljazeera's reporter wrote this article on models with disabilities at New York Fashion Week 2015

The disabled models of New York Fashion Week

A look at the people challenging body type prejudice

February 25, 2016 5:00AM ET

by Debora Fougere

It is a rare sight at New York Fashion Week: a crowd rising to its feet, loudly cheering a model making his or her way down the runway. 

But it happens repeatedly at the FTL Moda shows, an Italian fashion “platform” that brings designers together to show their collections in a kind of cooperative setting. Almost everything about FTL’s shows is, suffice it to say, less than traditional, from the setting, The Angel Orensanz Foundation, a former synagogue turned event space on the Lower East Side, to the clothes.

But especially the models.

Shaholly Ayers is a congenital amputee, born without her right arm. Ayers has been modeling for 10 years and this is her third season walking in an FTL Moda Show. Not surprisingly, realizing her dream has been a bit of a battle, until, she says, she found the right agency. “It’s been really difficult for me to break into the industry,” she said. “I ended up networking, working with makeup artists, and building my own portfolio. I met Global Disability Inclusion, and they really helped escalate my career.”

GDI works with major corporations to make workplaces more disabled-friendly. It now partners with FTL Moda on fashion shows and photo shoots around the world to bring what they call “diversely abled” models into the mainstream.

Models like Madeline Stuart. She’s only been modeling since last April, but has been in near-constant demand. Madeline is 19, from Brisbane, Australia, and has Down Syndrome. Her mom, Roseanne, is her spokesperson, constant companion, head cheerleader and best friend. She says Madeline’s road to the runway wasn’t that hard to navigate. “Last year, she told me she wanted to do modeling,” Roseanne said. “I took her in to get professional photos done, I put them on the internet and they just went completely viral, and then people just started contacting us and asking her to do photo shoots, asking her to advertise products.”

They were contacted by three companies in September, asking if Maddy, as her mom calls her, would work with them. She went with FTL Moda because they seem most determined to make a difference, to promote diversity on the catwalk. “Everything we do is for charity,” she said. “If we align ourselves with commercial products, it has to be a positive thing for women and for people in general.”

Ilaria Niccolini started FTL Moda in 2006 simply to showcase fashion. But as the company grew, she felt it needed to do more. Since 2013, she says, “we have been working to include diversity at the highest level.” They stage their shows in New York, Paris, Milan, Rome and Miami, and starting next season, they’ll be showing in Tokyo. “It used to be more difficult,” Niccolini said. “but now, it’s becoming easier. They’re finally beginning to see that there are a lot of paradigms there that can actually be broken. What was once scary or uncomfortable to see or experience, especially when you just sit down to enjoy a runway show, now they realize that not only is it not scary, but it is also, I would say emotional, it’s pretty, it’s exciting. We just want to make a connection with whoever is sitting there, if it’s an editor or a blogger, it doesn’t matter, we just want to create a strong connection so that everyone can embrace what’s going on.” 

That connection is what draws some designers to FTL Moda, as well. Boston-based Josefa DaSilva featured Madeline Stuart on her runway, along with other non-traditional models, saying they fit in perfectly with her design inspiration, healing crystals. “They have been cultivating and teach us to be very loving toward everyone, not just a group of people, but everyone,” she said. “I thought, why not incorporate that in my designs? It’s supposed to be very loving and have compassion for our purpose for everyone in the world. That’s why you saw a lot of models over there who were not traditional models, they were plus size models, they were not that high fashion model that we would see in the industry.”

For models like Madeline, it’s the chance to do something her mother says she was born to do. “Modeling is about walking and looking pretty and posing and Madeline’s been brought up to really love herself,” Roseanne said. “Because I’ve always told her how wonderful she is. There’s no inhibition, there’s no nervousness, nothing. She’s just getting her hair and makeup done and showing the world how to be natural, and she does it so perfectly.”

But, while Madeline will travel the world over the next months, walking runways and posing for pictures, even acting as the face for clothing and makeup companies, her mother insists it isn’t about modeling at all. “Madeline does modeling because that’s her platform and we can raise awareness, so people don’t feel isolated,” she said. “But this is about charity, this is about inclusion, this is about diversity. This is about every parent out there who has a child with a disability that feels like they’re alone. They can see Madeline’s face outside and she’s got just as many opportunities as anyone else. It’s for everyone who’s ever been bullied at school because they feel different. They look at Madeline now and it gives them hope. It’s a vehicle, basically, to get our word out, to try to make the world a better place.” 

That sentiment is echoed by most of the models at FTL Moda, including Shaholly Ayers. “As far as I know, this is the only show that has such a diverse group of models,” she said. The first show that I walked in, they had wheelchair models. It’s phenomenal because beauty is in so many looks. They’re able to show that at FTL Moda, and it’s so special to be a part of that.” It’s also, she said, about being a role model as well as a runway model. “I have a lot of followers on my fan pages that are children looking at me and saying, I have someone like me. When I was growing up, I didn’t have that at all. I think people need that.”

According to Niccolini, FTL Moda will continue with its runway schedule, but they’re also moving more into editorials, with upcoming spreads for what she calls top magazines around the world. They will, of course, include diverse models, some using bionics, some wearing prosthetics because, she said, “that’s what the real industry today wants in terms of fashion, art and culture.”

And her pride continues to come from the men and women who are getting a chance to do something they never would have done without FTL Moda — model. “That’s why I strive to make this really beautiful, she said. “What actually inspired me I think is that we are in a world nowadays where there is beauty everywhere, and I think, especially now, with social media, we see more and more often stereotyped images. And instead, there’s so much to see and discover. I think that’s what inspires me, to be able to give voice and give a stage to whoever deserves it.”


Model Madeleine Stuart was on                                          Madeleine came back to NY 

NYFW in September 2015                                                    Fashion Weel on February 2016


















NYFW 2018

Marian Avila





















Jude Hass and Chelsea Werner










Check out her Instagram

Madeleine on the catwalk with a off white dress and a blue paiting on her face. Public, on the side, applauds.
Madeleine with white dress, fur white hat and boots, hand in hand with male model with black suit outfit, with a yellow bow tie, untied, walking the catwalk.
model on catwalk.