Fashion

Little women stand tall

International Dwarf Fashion Show in Dubai aims to promote inclusivity in fashion

Like all working mums, Ms Colleen Theriault has her hands full with her four-year-old son and a full-time career as head baker at a patisserie in North Carolina, US.

But the 24-year-old is also an advocate for a budding movement that is breaking into the international fashion scene.

Its models, like their initiative, are small but strong.

The International Dwarf Fashion Show, a non-profit organisation that aims to "reverse the discriminatory diktats of beauty", brought seven women with dwarfism to Dubai last week for a show dedicated to raising awareness about the need for more inclusivity in fashion.

"This is the farthest I've ever travelled, especially by myself," Ms Theriault said, after modelling two dresses at the show. "This trip was a big step."

In shimmering bodycon dresses and bright embellished saris, models from the US, the Philippines, Italy, Bulgaria and Russia strutted down an impromptu garden runway under heart-shaped arches of flowers.

The show closed with a charismatic model in a bridal dress, her holographic Mary Jane shoes peeking out from under a rose-dotted train.

Ms Zahra Mufaddal Khumri waited for more than two hours with her husband and young daughter to get into Saturday's show.

SUPPORT GROUP

After living in Dubai for more than a decade, she recently set up a Facebook support group for individuals and families in the emirate who, like her own, live with dwarfism.

She and her banker husband have built "a pretty good life" for themselves in the global shopping hub, she said, but even there the basic task of finding clothes that fit has remained a struggle.

The couple generally seek out the help of a tailor to alter or make garments, particularly traditional Indian clothes.

"You should be comfortable in anything you wear," Ms Khumri said.

She does manage to buy tops and dresses off-the-rack, she said, "but with a bit of difficulty since I do have to search in the petite section... sometimes in the kids' section".

The International Dwarf Fashion Show has attracted worldwide attention since it was launched in 2014, taking to the runway during New York Fashion Week, as well as in Tokyo and Paris, supported by France's culture ministry. - AFP

disabilitymodellingfashion