In recent times, so many discussions have been had about inclusivity in fashion. We have seen the sometimes gradual movement from discussion to action. From plus size models to modest models, to virtual models, the under represented are now being focused on. However, there are still miles to go.

It is these and more that inspired Teen Vogue’s September issue. The magazine profiled three models with disabilities: Chelsea Werner, Jillian Mercado and Mama Cax.

Chelsea Werner is a gymnast and model with Down syndrome, Jillian Mercado is a model with spastic muscular dystrophy and Mama Cax is a blogger, model, amputee and disability advocate.

The models speak on what it means for them to be in the public eye. They talk about what the exclusivity of models with disabilities means, and how it can affect individuals with same.

According to Jillian, “Even as a very young girl and adolescent, I always knew that there was a hole in the fashion industry, and that it wasn’t fair that I did not see myself reflected. I wanted to feel like a part of it, but there was nothing helping me see that.”

These three women are speaking up and will continue fighting. They have risen above the discrimination and rejection by the fashion industry. Inspite of all these, they are changing narratives, opening doors, changing lives and inspiring us all.

All Images courtesy Teen Vogue.


Valerie Ekpo
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