I can’t pinpoint exactly when originality and individuality became indispensable to my style, but I do recall at age 13 being deeply disappointed when a friend bought the same exact dress I was planning to wear to my bat mitzvah. The thought of someone else wearing MY dress was torture.
Before my teenage years, however, I loved looking like everybody else! In elementary school my friends and I had blue jean Fridays, and everyday was wear your heart shaped sunglasses with a bandana wrapped around your neck.
Today, my kids do the same – they find pride in being like the rest. I see the confidence that comes across M as he suits up in his soccer uniform. And last summer at camp, GL was thrilled to be a part of the rainbow bathing suit brigade. (There were at least 8 of them in the same swimwear!)
“I like wearing the popular things,” she told me.
Inclusion is a huge part of childhood. Kids don’t want to be different which is why Runway of Dreams– a nonprofit that works with the fashion industry to adapt mainstream clothing for kids in the differently-abled community – is so important.
It started when Mindy Schier hit a wall. Her son, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, wanted to wear jeans to school, but he couldn’t. So she set out to make the jeans he could wear and more.
“After speaking with a wide range of people and learning about their specific needs, I found three commonalities that would make their lives easier: modified closures, adjustability and alternate options to get in and out of the garments,” said Schier.
The goal is to have adapted lines of clothing become part of the retail vocabulary- like petite, plus size and maternity.
And the conversation has already begun. Partnering up with Tommy Hilfiger, Runway of Dreams now offers 22 pieces for boys size 4-20 and girls size 4-18, identical to the TH kids collection aside from the magnet closures.
Last week, I had the honor of working on the video shoot which debuted the new collection.
On set, Liam raced around the studio – just like any boy bored from being cooped up inside all day – except he’s in a wheel chair. And 6 year old Gianna was allover the sparkly accessories I brought, but she has only one arm to work with.
Unlike any shoot I’ve styled, this one left me with an expanded mind and an open heart.
Checkout the video directed by muthership productions, and please share to help change the fashion industry!
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What a beautiful post. I watched the video and couldn’t help but cry with appreciation for all the people who were involved in making the clothing, creating the film, and starring as the models. For the past 2 months, I’ve been caring for a 55 year-old man who was in a horrible car accident which resulted in his suffering 2 broken hips and a totally mashed up arm. The challenges he faces in recovery are immense. Seeing his courage and optimism and then seeing the same in the models for this clothing line is so encouraging to me. People are caring and showing compassion. What a great achievement.
This is fabulous. How nice to be a part of it.
WOW, Elysha! I wish that I could insist that everybody I know watch this video. Many people don’t like to admit how much they care about the way they look…they do not want it to be interpreted as “shallow”. But in all honesty I have never met a toddler, kid, adult, male, female, large, small who did not look in the mirror for feedback. So as long as we admit that to some degree we all want to feel that we look good and fit in….. then our outward style DOES matter. Thank you so much for sharing this topic which I doubt was on the radar……and now it WILL be!
Hi Yehuda! I think you nailed it when you mention courage + optimism. I also picked up on perseverance — particularly from the parents (and the designer!) at the shoot. Thank you for sharing!! Hope you are well.
Hi Penny! You’re right, I don’t think this topic really was on the radars of many. Working on this job definitely opened my eyes to a whole world. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!
This is friggin beautiful and inspirational, Elysha! Thank you for sharing. So lucky you get to work with these amazing kids! ????
Much like you, the need to be ‘in’ sprang up growing up. I’m not certain when I was able to let go of that. But I remember getting stressed out just to be ‘in’ lol. I didn’t like the feeling and I began on a journey of wearing my own style. It’s not too unusual or absurd; but distinct enough that I can call my own. And feel pretty and comfortable enough…
Hi Maia, These kids were amazing and so were their parents. It was a real privilege to do this job.
And if you’re feeling pretty and comfortable…it sounds like you’ve nailed your own style! xoxo
Lol it’s a feeling. How that actually looks… totally different story to whoever who sees! ????????
Well, when something feels right…it usually is! ????