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10/09/2015

Breaking Barriers: Inspiring Models at NYFW

Aspiring Australian model Madeline Stuart, 18, who has Down syndrome is taking the fashion world by storm with her mom Rosanne.
(Photo:celebrity dresses)

These models break the mold.

As New York Fashion Week kicks off on Thursday, the catwalk will be prowled by a new generation of models who include plus-size women, women with disabilities and even one with bionic capabilities.

Here are some of the women changing the shape of this season’s New York Fashion Week:

Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart, an Australian teen with Down Syndrome, will strut her stuff on Sunday in a FTL Moda show, cosponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

The 18-year-old lost 40 pounds in 18 months to help make her dream come true — a transformation that was seen worldwide when her modeling shots went viral in May.

Since her modeling career exploded, she has landed several campaigns with companies that include Manifesta and EverMaya — which designed “The Madeline” bag after the model.

Stuart isn't the first person with Down Syndrome to walk the runway. During February’s Fashion Week, "American Horror Story" actress, Jamie Brewer, made history when she became the first person with the condition to model.

Rebekah Marine

Also changing the face of fashion is Rebekah Marine, who will be taking modeling to bionic levels.

Marine will join Stuart at FTL Moda’s show on Sunday.

The New Jersey-native was born without a right forearm, so she will be sporting an i-limb quantum prosthetic hand — a powerful appendage with gesture control technology.

Marine began modeling six years ago, after receiving her bionic arm.

“It was hard at first to put myself out there for the whole world to see,” she told People magazine last week. “But I’ve become quite comfortable with myself now.”

Shaholly Ayers

A decade ago, Shaholly Ayers was told she would never be a model.

The Hawaii native was born without her lower right arm, but no amount of catty comments about her modeling future could deter her from pursuing her dreams.

Slowly, she began to shoot magazine covers and pick up commercials. Most recently, she shot for Nordstrom’s catalogue. Ayers models with and without her prosthesis, depending on the nature of her shoot.

The model will have her New York Fashion Week debut alongside Marine and Stuart for FTL Moda.

Plus-size models

There have been many recent movements to embrace all body sizes — and this fall’s Fashion Week will highlight the changing tide of modeling conventions.

Canadian lingerie brand Additon Elle will partner on a line with model Ashley Graham, promoted with the hashtag #IamSizeSexy.

And alongside NYFW, there will also be New York Fashion Week Plus, which begins Wednesday to showcase plus-size fashion.

More than 200 models auditioned, with 30 newcomers chosen for the catwalk.

The "dad bod" will also take a turn on the runway. Josh Ostrovsky — known as "The Fat Jew" on Instagram — will showcase his “Dad Collection" on Sept. 16. The show will highlight men of all ages, and sizes.

Influential Leaders

Carrie Hammer, the designer who brought actress Jamie Brewer to Fashion Week is back this year.

Hammer, who designs form-fitting and stylish workwear for professional women, invited 27 powerful women to model her clothes this season, part of her “Role Models Not Runway Models” campaign.

This year, Hammer’s show on Thursday will include such role models as New York City’s Commissioner for International Affairs, Penny Abeywardena; Olympic figure skater, Meryl Davis; U.N. adviser La Neice Collins; and Michelle Herrera Mulligan — editor of Cosmopolitan for Latinas.

In her 2014 Fashion Week debut, Hammer hired Danielle Sheypuk for her show, making Sheypuk the first model in a wheelchair in Fashion Week history.Read more at:short cocktail dresses

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