Normalize Inclusion. The saying rang through the halls of Fashion is for Every Body’s Nashville show. It is one thing for fashion shows, brands, and designers to feature a minority model in a picture and a whole other to work with a show that requires designers to make accessible adaptive designs for their disabled models. Even the accessories were adaptive, featuring Patti + Ricky’s designers making "Fashion is for Every Body" Braille embossed and easy-on/easy-off cuff bracelets, statement fidget jewelry, stylish emergency alert pendants, and my ivory crocheted wheelchair wheel covers. Never has runway fashion been more functional! A show that wants their clothes and runway to truly reflect the world we live in. "Nothing about us, without us", comes to mind. A popular saying and battle cry in the disability community.
The Nashville runway was the most inclusive in existence. Featuring models that reflected the world we live in. Models of all races, orientations, abilities, and sizes together on a runway. In true inclusive fashion, it wasn’t just the models that were diverse. The Founder of the fashion show, Alicia Searcy, back of house staff, hair and makeup teams, and designers were just as diverse!
There was no shortage of joy or smiles as the day went on and the show got closer. Everyone worked together, doing their individual part to put on the best show possible. Models supported other models, giving encouragement and tips for a great runway.
For me personally, it was the most welcoming experience I have had yet. Alicia, the fearless founder and leader of the show met me at the door and showed me around at my arrival. Every detail was thought of, down to if I would need assistance changing. Not something that is thought of for disabled models often. The entire venue was completely wheelchair accessible and there wasn’t a single space I couldn’t go (Emmys take note), again not the normal.
It wasn’t hard to feel the welcoming environment created by Fashion is for Every Body. I made friends instantly upon arriving, with everyone I talked to, and know we will be friends for years to come! Seeing the inclusion at every level was an emotional experience and I teared up several times throughout the day.
For people who wonder just how much of an impact having true inclusion in fashion, on the runway, and in media can make or those who wonder how much difference one runway can make, the answer is it can change lives and how we see ourselves. After the show finished, a little girl in a wheelchair and her mom came up to me and asked for a picture. The little girl was so excited and while we were having our picture taken shared with me that after seeing me on the runway, she now too wanted to roll a runway someday and have all the fun doing it. Her mom jumped in thanking me for modeling and helping her daughter to see herself! It was such a powerful and emotional moment. One that I will never forget.
So, does inclusion matter? In the biggest way, YES! Inclusion is the future and fashion truly is for every body! Hopefully more runways, the fashion industry, television, and media will start looking like this soon. Thank you for leading by example Fashion is for Every Body!
Don't forget to check out the Patti + Ricky's adaptive accessories that were on the Fashion is for Every Body's runway from their innovative designers, including statement fidget jewelry, Braille embossed cuff bracelets, easy-on/easy-off jewelry, emergency alert pendants, and my show-stopping ivory crochet wheelchair wheel covers that I am seriously obsessed with! Use my promo code Cienna10 for 10% off your entire order at PattiAndRicky.com and a portion will go to support the work of the non-profit, Fashion is for Every Body!
Patti + Ricky Adaptive Fashion Influencer
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