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My Reaction to the 2020 Runway of Dreams Fashion Show

Over the weekend I watched the Runway of Dreams Fashion Show, as it was part of NYC Fashion week.  Growing up as a disabled woman, it was rare or non-existent to see myself in this space. As we become more aware of our environments, people are starting to realize that representation is so important. 

[bf_image id="pcvxmwjzqtnn43j7s9bbn2q"] Runway of Dreams was created to finally marry the world of disabilities with fashion. Many people do not realize how inaccessible clothes can be without having the perspective of a disabled person. It was always hard for me to find age appropriate clothes when I was in school. I was lucky enough to grow just enough to fit into women’s size extra small, but even then it can be very difficult to find clothes that fit. I still wear youth size clothes now.  

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This year’s Runway of Dreams show was especially unique because it was remote, like most social events in our lives. One of my favorite parts of the show was the fact that the hosts were my internet friends, Shane and Hannah, aka Squirmy and Grubs on YouTube. Shane was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. He and his wife share a YouTube channel that I have been a fan of since they began filming their lives. I have connected with them through social media so I am honored to call them (internet) friends! I could tell by Shane and Hannah's excitement that this was a true honor, but I know that particularly for Shane this was pivotal. To see models like us share a runway, even just from our respective homes due to our current times, it still had a great impact. These shows get better with each passing year. 

The clothes featured all shared accessible elements that made the lives of the model’s consumers easier. Each clothing represented has an adapted element. For example Velcro closures, magnetic buttons and zippered sneakers (sneakers with zippers instead of laces). I should also mention that almost all the models in this show are disabled. There was an amazing variety of disabilities too, which meant so much to me. I often see conventional disabilities in advertisements, and for that I feel less seen. It’s hard to explain, and it can be really challenging to achieve this, but Runway of Dreams does an exceptional job. 

[bf_image id="q1m5rf-6iczhc-f9fwxq"] I want to make a note that all the models shown here have no relation to this fashion show. I wanted to show that we have a lot of work to do. as there was not a lot of disability diversity found in the media gallery on here. One day we will have more visible inclusion and when we do, I will report on it!

Chanel Keenan

U Mass Amherst '21

My name is Chanel! I hope you enjoy this collection of articles. 
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