Kit Steinkellner
February 18, 2015 8:19 am

New York Fashion Week is almost over, but we hope this season’s impact has a lasting effect on the industry. This week more than ever the industry seems committed to putting diverse people and faces on the runway, and the non-fashion-week going public is certainly taking very celebratory note.

We reported last week that American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer made history by being the first model with Down Syndrome to walk the New York Fashion Week runway. And she was 100% glorious.

The response to her walk was monumental with social media rising in what seemed like pretty unanimous praise:

The week’s commitment to diversity continued beyond the appearance of Brewer on runway including an awesome runway show at Lincoln Center by “FTL Moda Loving.” Buzzfeed, among other sites, spotlit that show too — which featured models in wheelchairs and amputee models —  explaining that “the show was praised for its inclusion of disabled people, especially for an industry that is often criticised for its lack of diversity.” And show diversity it did.

In an industry that sets the standards for what is considered beautiful and fashionable it is just so inspiring to see an inclusive vision of beauty. This year’s fashion week has changed the game.

The FTL Moda Living also happened to be historic in that it featured the first male amputee model (Jack Eyers) on the runway.

In a press release Eyers communicated a message that likely rings true for all the disabled and diverse models on the runway, “I just want to show that having a disability doesn’t need to hold you back,” he said “I want people to see me, and to realize that there needs to be more disabled models walking the runway.” Eyers, who was born with condition that led him to have his leg amputated at 16, has since become the spokesperson for Models of Diversity, an organization that promotes models that don’t fit the cookie-cutter runway model and we’re loving that.

Ilaria Niccolini, the producer of the FTL Moda show, could not have been more visibly proud of her work. As she told Ticker Report, she was so thrilled by this moment in time, what she described as “a very significant moment in my fashion career,” because it was:

“This opportunity to finally open the most recognized runways in the world to these beautiful talents, ready to show that disability is very often just a mental state by performing on the runway next to some of the best models on the scene.”

As Mashable reports, there were more moments of beautiful inclusion on the runway. Trans goddess Laverne Cox walked the runway for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women event. And looked like an angel princess doing it.

Meanwhile Winnie Harlow (who many of us remember from America’s Next Top Model back when she was going by Chantelle Brown), a model with the skin pigmentation condition vitiligo, crushed it for Desigual’s fall/winter fashion show.

And lord love Chromat who used models of all shapes and sizes in their runway show. Essentially, beauty standards seem to be (finally) changing and New York Fashion Week is helping to adopt and accept the new normal.

Quite honestly, this is probably the most inspiring and inclusive New York Fashion Week to date. And you know what that means, don’t you NYFW? Next year you we’ll be ready for more.

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