Fashion has always been on tags. Fashionable ones deserve buying, therefore consumed by celebrities. New clothes have labels sewn. Deeper label levels contribute to the homogeneity of the fashion industry. This helps the models to be a visual signifier or societal label. To determine the industry, which deems it more valuable. As a result, anti-blackness, photophobia, transphobia, and other biases permeate the fashion industry. Industries are taking strides towards over-sizing and hiring more POC. A serious issue to address.
A few industries advocate for all-sized bodies. Including those who are labeled as disabled. Models are worth designing clothes for, models-role-models, are beautiful, and are even in magazines.
Beneath we have spoken to some models who have experience in the industry’s visibility, and style:
How or When to begin?
Let people know of your aspiration to be a model. Then sign to a major industry. Success is always hard. Any kind of job like test shots, freelancer modeling, press, or major publication is difficult.
Aaron Philip started her career as a modeler in 2017. Started through media and the tweet went viral.
How was your experience as a disabled model?
For her, being a disabled model in the industry is everything but not easy. She carries a perfect image. Disabled models are pushed toward high-society, clients/runway, to see how much importance the public is giving. Disabilities in the fashion industry like campaigns, editorials, and runway shows are a constant battle. Where you need to put your entire career in line.
“Work is what is required the most at this time”
Is the industry more accessible? Do you still see yourself in the future, as a model?
It is accessible by taking simple steps just to prioritize physical accessibility as a core value. Culturally skeptical are industries with hiring disabled models. Tokenized consistently and hence done differently.
How does it impact your way of approaching personal style?
Disabled Aaron Philip does more and more experiments in her style and the way she wants to carry herself in the public. Her body is not chic, stylish, sexy, etc. and her body defines her. And thus, she wears bodysuits, baby tees, and form-fitting clothes.
How can a fashion industry destigmatize disabilities, and what does representation mean to you?
Integrate with clients to represent yourself as a disabled model. We would infantilize and portray ourselves to the industry as lights of hope to clients, and we need to do our jobs.
“People with disabilities are valuable and should be paid for their work”
What do you wish for people to take as inspiration from your career?
Arron Philip wants to convey that everyone is beautiful and capable and that one day they will succeed in life. She wanted to make disabled people realize how valuable they are and to stop hiding from society, so take a step forward and face society. Make the world know that you are here. Everyone deserves a seat at the table and has a place in the fashion industry.
There are positive changes that are happening in the fashion industry regarding diversity. There are groups of models or people who still do not feel presentable. Fashion shows rarely show disabled models. Not even in catwalks, on billboards, and pages of glossy magazines.
Everyone deserves a chance for themselves, hence, start with stepping out of your comfort zone. Women with a sense of fashion are smart and stylish, therefore, representing themselves to the fashion industry. Models are categorized on the idea of beauty so break this barrier.
A few designers have identified the gap and introduced special clothing for disabled models. The designers try to create equilibrium between fashion and society. Designers minimize the clothing challenges and therefore, face people with disabilities hence, showing how the fashion industry is breaking the customs of being disabled.