Model with Down syndrome fulfills dream of walking New York Fashion Week catwalk

Ciara Sheppard
Contributor Yahoo Style UK
21-year-old M arian Avila made her fashion week debut over the weekend. [Photo: AP]

Fashion should be all-inclusive, yet the industry is still known for upholding conventional beauty standards, particularly in modelling.

One person changing this is Marian Avila, a 21-year-old model with Down’s syndrome, who fulfilled a life-long dream on Saturday by making her New York Fashion Week runway debut. 

Spanish-born Avila walked at the Talisha White show, donning a series of glamorous evening gowns. Her parents watched from the audience in support during the Midtown Manhattan show. 

“I felt really happy and I really loved the runway,” Avila told Associated Press, “I wanted to show the world that there are no barriers.”

White, the creative behind the collection, explained that the runway appearance has already began opening doors for Avila. 

“She’s been a busy supermodel, meeting with all types of people,” White said. “I’m very glad for her. She’s been meeting with Vogue. She’s been meeting with Harper’s Bazaar. She’s been meeting in different showrooms, different modelling agencies.”

White, who also cast wheelchair-user Tae McKenzie in her all-inclusive show, said: “I wanted to show not just one type of girl is beautiful.”

She added: “I like to showcase all types of girls, from pageant girls to models in wheelchairs, models with Down’s Syndrome, models who are four feet and told they can never be a model. They are my ‘it’ girl.”

White isn’t the only designer to be making welcome moves towards a more diverse industry this Fashion Month.

CHROMAT chose transgender model Leyna Bloom to open its Saturday show, while designer Christian Siriano was applauded for the diverse cast of models walking in his Sunday show. 

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