Fifteen models with intellectual disabilities walked the catwalk at New Zealand Fashion Week recently as part of The Living Colour show, celebrating diversity.
They wore local designers from Zambesi to Kate Sylvester in New Zealand’s biggest showcase.
“I’m very excited,” one model told One News.
“I feel nervous I guess about catwalking but I am relaxing now,” another said.
After the show, there was a dance party for three hundred guests.
The show was organised by Dance For Abilities which is a not-for-profit organisation set up to give people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to have a night out.
Founders Jonathan and Daniel Hopkirk were inspired by their sister Rosa, who was born with Down syndrome.
“We’d often go out, where there was often that barrier for her where that didn’t happen. So effectively this kind of creates that opportunity for people like Rosa to experience what we experience on a day to day basis,” Daniel said.
“Missy Boo, as her nickname is, or Rosa… we basically think she’s the Queen of sass so she runs the cutter at home. She keeps us honest,” Jonathan says.
Designers have welcomed the show to the fashion world.
Brittany Cosgrove from Nope Sisters Clothing says the show is usually known as not being very inclusive.
“It’s sort of known for being very exclusive and high-end… so it’s really good to see some actual changes being made.”
“It just knocks down a lot of barriers and a lot of walls to people’s perspectives on what they think disability might be,” Daniel added.