The Council of Fashion Designers of America teamed up with Mindy Scheier’s Runway of Dreams and Gamut Management to kick off a webinar series to discuss the need for inclusion in the fashion industry. Finally—the conversation we need all need to be having!
The hour-long virtual event was hosted by Mindy Scheier and five panelists (Marty O’Connor, Bradon Farbstein, Grace Strobel, Julian Gavino, and Estela Lugo)—each of whom has a different story and disability. The participants shared their stories and expressed the importance of inclusion for people with disabilities in fashion, specifically advocating for a larger emphasis on adaptive fashion.
The four-part series aims to prompt a conversation about a more disability-inclusive industry in the future. While Gamut Management aims to help people with disabilities work directly with global businesses and industries, Runway of Dreams was founded by Scheier after her son was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Scheier is not only a veteran in the fashion industry—an avid stylist and long-time designer—but also a strong believer that clothing is a basic human need. Runway of Dreams actively works to break down stereotypes, highlight the need for adaptive fashion, and showcase people with disabilities in fashion. This new informative collaboration with the CFDA has allowed that conversation to reach a much larger audience.
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Over the course of the webinar, panelists highlighted the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis when it comes to fashion, jewelry, and accessories—like pants that don’t fit inside leg braces, the need for feeding tube-friendly shirts, and uncomfortable waistbands on jeans when sitting in a wheelchair. The importance of brands representing their entire consumer base, not simply those whose bodies and needs fit the molds of their products, was also raised.
To conclude, the panelists shared their hopes for the future of fashion, which included an industry free of unreachable beauty standards and more inclusive of the interests and needs of all consumers. In the following weeks, viewers will be able to hear from brands that are succeeding in and experimenting with adaptive fashion in their portfolios—Tommy Hilfiger and LVMH to name a few.
Be sure to sign up for next week’s webinar, “Learning from the Leaders” at 12 PM EST on January 21, here!