February 16, 2017 01:00 By AGENCE-FRANCE-PRESSE NEW YORK
A down's syndrome model launches her label at New York Fashion Week
MADELINE STUART, the 20-year-old Australian model with Down’s Syndrome challenging stereotypes in the fashion industry, returned to New York earlier this week to strut the runway and debut her own label.
Stuart relished her moment on the catwalk, opening with a happy little jiggle and blowing a kiss to the crowd at the end on a rainy, chilly night on the Lower East Side. For the debut of her “21 Reasons Why” label, she wore a white peplum-style top with blue leggings, her hair fluffed up in a top knot and glittery makeup around her eyes.
It is a range of sports-casual lycra similar to outfits she is photographed in off the catwalk – leggings, tops and skirts with mottos such as “Fitness Life”, “Supermodel” and “I am Fashion Week”.
It “is an inspirational line, it’s for everybody to feel comfortable, to feel good about themselves,” her mother, Rosanne Stuart, said after the show
A picture of Madeline dressed in a ball gown from her attention-grabbing 2015 New York fashion week appearance featured on the front and back of a singlet and on black leggings.
Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful” – an anthem to inclusion and acceptance regardless of appearance – played over the loudspeakers.
The brand takes its name from the 21st chromosome, an extra one of which causes Down’s Syndrome, and reflects a desire to make people more diverse, caring and loving, and what Rosanne called everyone’s desire to be 21 years old.
She said the clothes were completely the work of herself and Madeline.
Madeline will be walking in another fashion show in New York on Monday, and also has plans to go to Paris fashion week, model in Los Angeles, show her line of clothing in Denver and model in London, her mother said.
Madeline recently got a US work visa, “the only person with an intellectual disability” to have got one, according to her mother and the duo are in and out of the States a lot.
The label took second slot in a triple bill in an arts space on the Lower East Side, opened by a flamboyant and emotional catwalk show featuring breast cancer survivors who dared to bare and closing with women in cocktail frocks accompanied by dogs in pet couture.
The 16 cancer survivors modelled lingerie and loungewear from AnaOno, which designs specifically for women who have had mastectomies, breast reconstruction or breast surgery.
Women of all colours and ages took part, the youngest of whom was 18 when she was diagnosed, in a bid to raise awareness of and boost research into stage four breast cancer.
They strutted the runway in platform boots and lingerie, some proudly whipping off their bras and covers to display breast reconstruction or double mastectomies to whoops and cheers from the supportive crowd.