New York Fashion Week 2018: Model with Down's syndrome walks the runway

'I wanted to show the world that there are no barriers'

Olivia Petter
Monday 10 September 2018 11:18 BST

A young model with Down’s syndrome has fulfilled her childhood dream of modelling at New York Fashion Week.

Marian Avila, 21, walked the runway on Saturday in the Talisha White show, donning a series of opulent evening gowns while her parents and siblings watched on in the audience.

The progressive catwalk featured models of all ages, including Tae McKenzie, who uses a wheelchair.

Avila was born in the Benidorm area of eastern Spain and aspired to become both a model and actress from a young age.

“I felt really happy and I really loved the runway,” she told Associated Press via a translator, “I wanted to show the world that there are no barriers.”

White, 25, added that Avila has been making waves in the fashion industry, garnering attention from leading magazines and designers since appearing in her show:

“She's been a busy supermodel, meeting with all types of people," White said.

Avila wears a sparkling gown from the Talisha White 2019 spring collection on the runway.
Avila wears a sparkling gown from the Talisha White 2019 spring collection on the runway. (AP)

"I'm very glad for her. She's been meeting with Vogue. She's been meeting with Harper's Bazaar. She's been meeting in different showrooms, different modelling agencies."

Inclusivity was very much the theme of White’s collection, which aesthetically focuses on occasionwear.

“I wanted to show not just one type of girl is beautiful,” she added.

“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 went on to praise Avila and McKenzie for “breaking boundaries” in an industry that has long focused on homogenised beauty norms.

Last season, a handful of labels featured diverse line-ups at New York Fashion Week, such as Christian Siriano, who had cast a number of plus-size models, and Chromat, whose models included an amputee, a breast cancer survivor and a woman wearing a hijab.

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