Last year, 18-year-old Madeline Stuart of Brisbane, Australia, made waves by becoming the first major fashion model with Down syndrome. She was quick to let the world know that she wasn’t willing to give up on her dreams.
This year, she’s still going strong. She’s been signed with several fashion and cosmetics brands, has walked the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, is having a doll modeled after her, and has even launched her own line of handbags.
Here we have Stuart walking down the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.
She’s been breaking down barriers since her photos went viral last year.
Watch Stuart take a spin on the catwalk in one seriously beautiful outfit:
MyCityLife’s @conanvisser had the privilege of seeing special needs model @madelinesmodelling_ make her @nyfw runway debut at the @ftlmoda show alongside @adrianalima. #nyfw #newyorkfashionweek #madelinestuart #icaniwillaustralia #fashion #fashionweek #modelling #mycitylife
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Rosanne Stuart, the brave girl’s mother, accompanied her daughter to New York. They were both extremely excited for the opportunity.
“I think it’s amazing that she’s been given this opportunity,” Rosanne told ABC. “It’s a fantastic platform for us to get our beliefs across on inclusion and disability.” The runway show also featured model Rebekah Marine, who uses a prosthetic arm.
Marine proudly refers to herself as the “bionic model.”
Marine and Stuart weren’t the only unique models, either.
The show featured many women with disabilities, and celebrated the diversity and strength of human bodies.
The FLT Moda show, which featured Marine and Stuart, was organized with the help of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Models of Diversity, which is an organization that works to bring more authentic representations into the fashion world.
Here’s Stuart in an edgy outfit and some equally experimental makeup.
(via The Mighty, ABC)
It seems that the rigid and unforgiving world of fashion might finally be giving up on its false, unattainable idea of beauty. We’re also seeing an awesome shift in how we perceive disability. A more inclusive fashion world could make a huge difference for people everywhere.
You can follow Rebekah Marine on Instagram to keep up with her fashion adventures, and you can also follow Madeline Stuart on Instagram and Twitter to see what she’s up to these days.