Mhyanif Lozada | Entertainment Director
Diverse models captivated Wynwood with confidence and showed the power of the adaptive fashion revolution.
The Runway of Dreams foundation, a non-profit organization working to bring adaptive clothing to the public market, unveiled their 2023 Campaign for Inclusion on June 2 in Wynwood’s MAPS Backlot Studio.
Since its beginning, the foundation has participated in fashion weeks across the country and partnered with retailers like Kohl’s, Zappos, JCPenney, Target, Adidas and Sephora, who presented and sponsored the debut.
When fashion designer Mindy Scheier started Runway of Dreams in 2014, the non-profit addressed the lack of accessibility in clothing for people with disabilities.
Scheier first noticed the fashion industry’s inaccessibility when her son Oliver, who had been born with muscular dystrophy, asked to wear jeans like other students at school.
“He came home from school and said, ‘I don’t understand why everybody else gets to wear jeans except for me’… He couldn’t, because he was unable to do buttons and zippers and put the jeans over his leg braces,” explained Scheier to the attendees.
“I said, ‘You bet you’re wearing jeans, and you’re gonna wear them tomorrow… It’s gonna be a very big day.’”
With Scheier’s successful alteration of a pair of jeans for her son came the idea of making adaptive clothing mainstream and creating inclusivity in fashion for people with disabilities, showcased in the inaugural campaign video.
Musician and campaign model Alvaro Alcocer became disabled after a stray bullet paralyzed him from the waist down.
“When [Runway of Dreams] first contacted me, I had never heard about adaptive clothing,” said Alcocer.
“I’ve been living here in Miami, one of the fashion capitals of the world, for the past 25 years, but this is a game changer.”
Content creator and longtime model for the foundation Yarelbys Tua, who developed a disability in her leg after a spinal cord inflammation, expressed the importance of adaptive clothing being both comfortable and fashionable.
“I think we should be able to show up authentically as the best version of ourselves, so to me it’s about creating pieces that feel representative of what we want to express through fashion,” said Tua.
After debuting the campaign video, the models briefly shared their experience in the campaign, with beauty influencer and Sephora mentor Steffi Gonzales mentioning that “it would have been a dream to see it go live, let alone be a part of it.”
Scheier invited all attendees to this year’s New York Fashion Week on Sept 13, where models for the foundation will be on the runway.
With the Campaign for Inclusion launch, this year’s Runway of Dreams models showcased the versatility of adaptive clothing, whether tailored around mobility aids, sensory issues, or differently-shaped limbs.
Emily Rowley, campaign model and content creator, shared her insight and hopes for the future of inclusive fashion.
“My advice for fashion brands is to not put yourself in a box. Try to be open to anybody and any body, because not everyone’s the same size and shape,” said Rowley.