mens ralph lauren polo Fashion show highlights models of all abilities
MADISON, Wis. It’s not your typical fashion show and that’s exactly the point. The Fashion Show for All Abilities, seeks to include everyone including models with disabilities and those without. It’s that kind of inclusion, the founder, Jacquie Piraino’s daughter Chantel Brown, says she hopes the event promotes.
“I used to cry when I used to see them come down the stage, but now I just love it,” said Piraino.
It’s a fashion show where models of all ages, sizes and abilities take the stage. Friday, the fashion show celebrated its 10 year anniversary. It’s an accomplishment Brown could only dream of when the show first started with less than 20 models.
“I always wanted to a model as a little girl,” Brown said.
Brown always dreamed of being a model, then she received a brain injury that left her in a wheelchair and with limited speech. Instead of giving up,
she created a way for her and others with disabilities to break into the fashion scene.
“Helping people,” Brown started saying as Piraino continued Brown’s sentence by explaining the event is all about “helping people feel good about themselves.”
The fashion show’s mission is to highlight that all people deserve to be treated fairly, regardless of their abilities.
“I’m more than my wheelchair. I’m just like everybody else,” said model Marissa Bode.
It’s that feeling 18 year old Bode has felt for the last four years modeling in the show.
“It’s a little bit nerve wracking ’cause all these eyes are on you, but once you’re up there, it’s like you are powerful, like you have the ability to be in front of people and show that you are capable,” she said.
It’s a sense of power Piranio said Brown has given to more than 350 models over the years, while promoting a different view of what it means to walk the runway.
“Most of these people never have a day like this in their lives and we always have too many applications and we always have to turn models away and we hope we can get them in another year. But it is absolutely fabulous that they have day where they are No. 1,” she said.
Seventy five models and 30 retailers participated in Friday’s fashion show at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention center, proving that anyone can take the stage.
“Everybody is beautiful in their own way. There is no certain type of person. You don’t have to look a certain way. Everybody is beautiful in their own way,” said Bode.