Fashion

Down syndrome model debuts label in NY show

Stuart, together with breast cancer survivors, makes statement about inclusion

NEW YORK Madeline Stuart, a 20-year-old Australian model with Down syndrome challenging stereotypes in the fashion industry, returned to the New York Fashion Week on Sunday to strut the runway and debut her own label.

Stuart relished her moment on the catwalk, opening with a happy little jiggle and blowing a kiss to the crowd at the end.

For the debut of her 21 Reasons Why label, she wore a white peplum top with blue leggings, her hair fluffed up in a top knot and glittery make-up around her eyes.

Her collection is a range of sports-casual lycra - leggings, tops and skirts with mottos such as Fitness Life, Supermodel and I Am Fashion Week.

"It is an inspirational line, it is for everybody to feel comfortable, to feel good about themselves," her mother, Mrs Rosanne Stuart, told AFP.

A picture of the younger Stuart dressed in a ballgown from her attention-grabbing 2015 New York Fashion Week appearance, featured on the front and back of a singlet and on black leggings.

Alessia Cara's Scars To Your Beautiful - an anthem of inclusion and acceptance regardless of appearance - played over the loudspeakers.

CHROMOSOME

The collection's name is a nod to Stuart's turning 21 this year and the extra copy of chromosome 21 that is characteristic of Down syndrome.

Down syndrome model debuts label in NY show
Australian model Madeline Stuart presenting creations from her label, 21 Reasons Why. PHOTO: REUTERS

It also reflects a desire to make people more diverse and caring.

Mrs Stuart said the collection was designed by her daughter and herself.

Stuart will be walking in another fashion show in New York and has plans to go to the Paris Fashion Week, model in Los Angeles, show her line of clothing in Denver and model in London, her mother said.

She recently got a US work visa, "the only person with an intellectual disability" to have got one, according to her mother.

The duo are in and out of the US a lot.

21 Reasons Why took second slot in a triple bill in an arts space on the Lower East Side, opened by a flamboyant and emotional catwalk show featuring breast cancer survivors who dared to bare and closed with women in cocktail frocks accompanied by dogs in pet couture.

Designer Madeline Stuart speaks with her mother Roseanne backstagePHOTO: REUTERS

The 16 cancer survivors modelled pieces from AnaOno, which designs specifically for women who have had breast surgery.

Women of all colours and ages took part, the youngest of whom was 18 when she was diagnosed, in a bid to raise awareness of and boost research into stage four breast cancer.

They strutted the runway in platform boots and lingerie, some proudly whipping off their bras to display breast reconstruction or double mastectomies to whoops and cheers from the supportive crowd. - AFP

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