Look out for Australian model Madeline Stuart! The 18-year-old, who has Down Syndrome, will make her debut at New York Fashion Week in September.
“Guess who is modelling in NY for New York Fashion Week xx,” she shared on Instagram alongside a photo of herself with the hashtag #FashionFreeFromConfines. Stuart will walk in the FTL Moda show on September 13. “It is with the utmost joy and pride that we announce Madeline Stuart’s participation in #FTLModa #NYFW #SS2016 presentation. Beautiful Madeline will brighten up the runway,” the brand wrote on Facebook.
The Italian company’s last NYFW runway for Fall/Winter 2015 featured amputees, wheelchair-bound women, and people on crutches wearing futuristic designs. For the upcoming show, FTL Moda’s partnered with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to continue their efforts in highlighting those with disabilities on the runway. “We share their steadfast commitment to raising awareness for the paralysis community and together, we will break down barriers to achieve total inclusion for models living with disabilities across the most prestigious runways of the world. By challenging the stereotypes surrounding disability, we will truly create fashion free from confines,” said FTL MODA Producer Ilaria Niccolini.
Stuart started her modeling career a few months back and has already gained international attention and jobs. Following a Facebook post earlier this year by her mother Roseanne Stuart went viral — she shared images with the hopes of shifting people’s perceptions of what it’s like to live with a disability — she’s landed an advertising campaign with fashion and lifestyle brand everMaya (5 percent of sales profits from the bag named after her go to the National Down’s Syndrome Society NDSS), posed for fitness brand Manifesta, fronted clothing label Living Dead’s latest photo shoot, and more.
“The world wants to be inclusive, it just hasn’t had anyone on such a platform that they were able to do it easily,” Roseanne told Cosmopolitan. “Imagine in 10 years what society will be like for people with disabilities. It’s not going to be how it is now, it’s going to be the norm. It’s probably going to be cool to hang out with someone who has an intellectual disability because you know that they care more about emotions than they do about the materialistic world. Everyone’s going to want that friend to teach them what true love is.
Stuart will become the second model with Down Syndrome to appear in New York Fashion Week. Carrie Hammer invited American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer to appear in her show.