Models with disabilities – Jillian Mercado, Jamie Brewer – have made the headlines, but the handful of examples is just a drop in the ocean
Reading certain sections of the media over the past few weeks you might have thought that we were living in a golden age of diversity in fashion. Modelling – so the narrative goes – is finally opening its doors to people who reflect the eclectic beauty of the world’s population, with disabled models among those being welcomed to the fold.
This month Jillian Mercado, who has muscular dystrophy, was signed to IMG Models, the same agency as Gisele Bündchen. The American fashion blogger and editor has also featured in a Diesel campaign and has been photographed by the high priestess of fashion, Carine Roitfeld. Also this month, Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old Australian who has Down’s syndrome, was announced as the face of cosmetics brand GlossiGirl and cast to walk at New York fashion week in September.