The fashion industry has often been criticized for its narrow choice of models. But recently, many designers have taken steps toward increasing diversity, specifically by including disabled models in fashion shows.
This week, at Tokyo Fashion Week several disabled and able-bodied models showed off a new collection of “easy-to-wear” clothes by designer Takafumi Tsuruta. One of these models was Ami Sano, who was born without arms and only one leg. She rode the runway in her wheelchair, wearing a beautiful white wedding dress.
Also on the runway was Rina Akiyama, model and gold medalist swimmer in the 2012 Paralympics. She wore a Braille inspired dress covered in dots. Tsuruta is calling his new line of easy-to-wear clothes “people’s design.”
“The clothes are aimed at everyone in the world. I think it’s fashion’s responsibility to have trendy and easy-to-wear clothing,” Tsuruta told reporters.
Another of Tsuruta’s models, Sayaka Murakami, who has prosthetic legs and also competes in the Paralympics, said “In the future, people with disabilities won’t have to give up their dreams of modeling and will be able to work hard to achieve them.”
In February, British model Jack Eyers became the first male amputee in New York’s fashion week, wearing clothes by Italian designer Antonio Urzi. Also in February, American actor Jamie Brewer, who has Down’s Syndrome and is best known for her various roles in American Horror Story, appeared on a New York runway wearing a dress by Carrie Hammer.