Breanna L. Forgione
New York Fashion Week is one of the most highly anticipated events in the trendsetting industry. It is time when unique styles of clothing and various designers can come together to showcase the beautiful, artistic world of fashion. From new hues to colorful, seasonal patterns, this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2015 was rather memorable and unique.
Jamie Brewer made model history this year as the first model with Down syndrome to walk the Fashion Week runway.
Down syndrome is a disorder that arises from defective chromosomes. It often causes intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities, which include a short stature and broad facial features. Although it varies in severity, this lifelong disability can cause weak muscle tone and even serious heart defects.
Commonly known for her role in “American Horror Story” on FX, Brewer is really like every other model on the runway – she has a beautiful, smiling face, big round eyes and the tenacity to embrace fear.
Brewer is one of many women selected by designer Carrie Hammer, who wanted to demolish the idea of typical models strutting clothing down the runway. Hammer’s show, “Role Models Not Runway Models,” is aiming to break down the common stereotypes in the fashion industry and is instead aiming to showcase inspirational women all throughout the nation. From marketing executives to bankers, this show is encouraging women to embrace their true selves and everything that encompasses who they are.
In addition to being an advocate for individuals with disabilities, Brewer also served on the ARC Governmental Affairs Committee in Texas at the age of 19 to improve legal rights for disabled people. She successfully persuaded the committee to abolish the word “retarded” in Texas legislation, where the correct terminology is now “Intellectual Developmental Disability” in state legislation.
Brewer claimed in a recent interview with ABC that it is important to “embrace the fear and just go for it.”
“That’s what I do,” Brewer stated in the interview. “I don’t run from it, I embrace the fear.”
Brewer has always had a love for the arts, particularly movies and theater productions. She performed in several dramas, musicals, comedies and improvisations throughout her time in both middle school and high school.
The fashion event took place at Lightbox, a digital arts and events space in New York City. Throughout the day of the event, Brewer kept her Twitter followers and fans posted with photos of her makeup and hair for the runway look Hammer designed for her. Hammer claims that her look was inspired by the hit FX show the 30-year-old actress stars in.
To reflect the dark and bewitching nature of “American Horror Story,” Hammer designed a knee-length black dress for Brewer to wear while strutting down the runway at the show.
With the beat of the music pumping in the background, Brewer was collected and confident as she made her way down the runway. Although she was the last model to walk, she twirled and posed effortlessly for the cameras at the end of the aisle.
Her final move consisted of raising her hands in the air with a victorious fist-pump, striding off the stage as she did so. The audience could not have been more thrilled with her vibrant spirit and assured confidence as smartphone after smartphone snapped her smiling picture.
According to Hammer, “your circumstances don’t define you.” Hammer hopes that her “Role Models Not Runway Models” show will encourage and inspire young women of all ages to become who they truly want to be.
Fashion Week in New York City is far more than being a size zero or having a thigh gap. It is about having ambition to inspire others. It is about facing our fears. It is about completely embracing who we are and being who we never thought we could be.
Feb. 27, 2015