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  • Maia Ross

The First Teen with Down Syndrome Walked the New York City’s Fashion Week

Updated: May 22, 2022

Emily is a teen with Down Syndrome and recently made history walking the NYC Fashion Week on February 15, 2022. This is a very momentous occasion for the Disabled Community overall as Emily was able to be herself and choose her own outfit from the fashion designer, Jacqueline City who is a Disabled Advocate herself who prides herself in creating an inclusive brand. Emily, like many other Disabled youth and youth with Down Syndrome, has sensory issues with clothing that restrict the types of fabrics which she can wear. While many people may criticize her outfit choice for not being as unique as typical NYC Fashion Week outfits. Her outfit instead represents a new age of fashion with Disabled Advocates at the head. As fashion should not demand that we must change ourselves to be someone else, instead our fashion choices should show who we are. Emily’s choices did just that, she was seen wearing a pink baggy t-shirt that read in black ink, “DISABLED IS NOT A DIRTY WORD” with grey leggings both of which were comfy and fit her sensory needs. Her all-natural look is also significant as Emily despises makeup and hair-styling so her leadership in her outfit and design allowed her to make the choices of what her body will look like. The significance of the text on her t-shirt is that she is advocating for the Disabled Community and she is reminding the majority of the population to call Disabled people - Disabled rather than a euphemism like Special Needs or Differently-Abled.

Disabled people have agency and can make their own choices about what they do, how they appear, and what they wear. Her sister, Sar who walked by her side commented, that anyone should be able to walk the runway which really shines through their shared walk. Moreover, Emily’s clothing choices comment on how comfortable clothing is what the majority of the world wears rather than extravagant pieces which only a small portion of the population can afford. Thus, Emily’s walk represents the future of fashion, that fashion is for all and that we too can express our own self-love through our fashion choices.

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