Teen with cerebral palsy to walk the catwalk at New York Fashion Week
Next week, when New York Fashion Week kicks off, one of the stand-out models will be a 15-year-old from Bel Air, Maryland in the US, who has cerebral palsy and severe vision impairment.
Faith Guilbault is set to model the American department store Kohl's latest clothing line, Adaptive, which is specially designed for people with disabilities.
The teen is no novice to the catwalk. When Faith was just 12 years old, she walked in Tommy Hilfiger's show, showcasing the brand's Adaptive fashion line. The line was created to help the one in five Americans who are living with a disability have more independent lives.
“Adaptive clothing [has] special snaps, special magnets,” Faith told WJZ. “There’s all kinds of stuff to help you get your pants on and off and your shirt and stuff.”
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For teens like Faith, adaptive clothing doesn't just provide more independence, it also builds confidence. With an increasing number of popular brands designing adaptive clothing, people living with disabilities are now able to dress just like their peers.
“They have such a hard time as it is with the struggles and barriers they have to overcome daily; they shouldn’t have to struggle with their own independence with getting dressed,” Karen, Faith's mother, said.
When Karen learned that Runway of Dreams, a non-profit group who works with the fashion industry to make mainstream clothing available for the differently-abled, was looking for models, she sent in Faith's photo. Through the organisation, Faith was tapped to represent Kohl's adaptive clothing line in New York Fashion Week.
On top of the excitement of appearing in arguably one of the most important weeks of fashion in the world, Faith will be celebrating her 16th birthday.
“How great is that — to be your sweet 16 and be able to walk the runway in New York City Fashion Week?” mum Karen asked.
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Faith, who enjoys therapeutic riding and bowling, and plans to join the cheerleading squad at the Maryland School for the Blind, where she'll begin classes this fall, knows the opportunity is incredible. She also realises that her presence on the runway goes beyond her own potential modelling career.
"I think it will make a difference for people out here in the world,” Faith said.
Kohl's and Karen Guilbault did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.