I was able to grab tickets to attend Kent State’s second annual Runway of Dreams fashion show on the 5th of April. I have a huge interest in fashion, and having never attended a fashion show before, especially one at the intersection of interests for myself, disability, and fashion, I was so excited to go.
Runway of Dreams is a national organization, with a student-run branch run through a club at Kent State University. The group is all about adaptive and inclusive clothing, featuring disabled models, and giving them a space in an industry that is historically against anything outside the status quo.
The two sponsoring brands, Mai We Care Adaptive Fashion and Zappos Adaptive donated clothes to be worn for this event. It seems like they are regular partners of Runway of Dreams at various locations. I highly recommend looking into their clothing lines! I wasn’t able to get photos of all of the models as they walked, and there was quite a variety of clothing. I had no knowledge about either brand before this show, and I feel it is important for everyone to think about accessibility, even when it does not affect them personally.
Fashion isn’t accessible for everyone- fine motor skills of the hands or mobility issues can make buttons and zippers difficult. Featured in the fashion show were pieces with snaps down the sleeves for easier putting on, and tie waist pants.
Some of the models displayed the functionality of the clothing items they wore on stage, while others just walked (or rolled for chair using individuals).
There were also service animals that walked the runway!
It was amazing to see fashion that doesn’t just happen to work for disabled individuals, it is tailored directly to their specific needs.
More fashion brands should take note. There has been a movement for more size-inclusive clothing to become the norm in recent years, so now let’s make that push for disabled accessibility to be next.
A quote that stood out to me came from one of the members of the club, Bri Cummings, was this, “The future of fashion is adaptive, it is inclusive, and this is just the beginning”
Let’s make that a reality