Marian Avila, a 21-year-old model with down syndrome fulfilled her ultimate dream as she walked down the New York Fashion Week runway. This, all thanks to a designer from Atlanta who chanced upon her through social media.
The Spanish-born Avila reportedly walked at the ballroom of a Midtown Manhattan hotel for the Talisha White show. Showcasing a series of dreamy ballgowns, Avila was cheered not only by industry gurus, but also by her family.
They cheered proudly for their girl, as she gracefully catwalked.
Model With Down Syndrome Fulfils Her Runway Dreams
“I felt really happy and I really loved the runway,” Avila later told Associated Press, “I wanted to show the world that there are no barriers.”
The model with Down Syndrome was part of an initiative by White, who designs primarily for proms and pageants.
The designer came in contact with Avila after one of her friend's saw the 21-year-old's social media video asking for modelling work.
White immediately contacted Avila for her show that has now opened many doors for the young aspiring model.
The Designer Wanted To Champion Inclusivity
For her show, White, 25, even hired a wheelchair-user model Tae McKenzie, and wanted to showcase inclusivity. The designer said she was on a mission to change the world.
"The mission of my business is to change the world one stitch at a time, but I know I’m not going to do that just by making pretty dresses. It’s going to be the women who wear those pretty dresses,” White told the media. “People like Marian Avila and Tae McKenzie, who are breaking boundaries in the fashion industry,” she added.
White also noted that she wanted to showcase girls with various medical issues so that there is more awareness on the subject.
“I like to showcase all types of girls, from pageant girls to models in wheelchairs, models with Down’s Syndrome, models who are four feet and told they can never be a model. They are my ‘it’ girl,” White said.
Avila Soon To Become A Supermodel!
As for Avila, since being cast in this show, she has managed to grab many eyeballs. Several glossies are now interested to work with her.
“She’s been a busy supermodel, meeting with all types of people,” the 25-year-old designer said.
“I’m very glad for her. She’s been meeting with Vogue. She’s been meeting with Harper’s Bazaar. Avila's been meeting in different showrooms, different modelling agencies,” White added.
Interestingly, this runway show was simply part of her modelling practice, in a way. It was not the first time Avila faced people for a runway show. She's been practicing all her life.
“I practice every day,” her translator told the media during the show. Avila who is from the Benidorm area, which is a province of Alicante in eastern Spain also shared that she is studying to be a full-time model.
“I’m studying modeling and to become an actress,” the gorgeous model said.
Why We Need More Inclusivity In Fashion
Although Avila, a model with Down Syndrome, walked a relatively low-key fashion event, she did so with confidence and with girls just like her. Irrespective of their medical situation or race, these brave girls put on a truly engaging show and have opened doors for themselves in the fashion industry.
It is unfortunate that it has taken the fashion industry decades to accept diversity with open arms. Even today, not all brands cater to women of all shapes and sizes. There is a lot that needs to be done and not all women are well-represented, still.
While that is an ongoing struggle, girls like White and Avila are setting an example in the right direction.
And we at HerStyleAsia salute their confidence and grit in the hopes that more talented girls like them will march forward to break the shackles.