Down’s Syndrome model debuts label at NY fashion week

Madeline Stuart, the 20-year-old Australian model with Down's Syndrome challenging stereotypes in the fashion industry, returned to New York on Sunday to strut the runway and debut her own label.

Stuart relished her moment on the catwalk, opening with a happy little jiggle and blowing a kiss to the crowd at the end on a rainy, chilly night on the Lower East Side.

For the debut of her “21 Reasons Why” label, she wore a white peplum-style top with blue leggings, her hair fluffed up in a top knot and glittery makeup around her eyes.

It is a range of sports-casual lycra similar to outfits she is photographed in off the catwalk — leggings, tops and skirts with mottos such as “Fitness Life,” “Supermodel” and “I am Fashion Week.”

It “is an inspirational line, it’s for everybody to feel comfortable, to feel good about themselves,” her mother, Rosanne Stuart, told AFP.

A picture of Madeline dressed in a ballgown from her attention-grabbing 2015 New York fashion week appearance featured on the front and back of a singlet and on black leggings.

Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful” — an anthem to inclusion and acceptance regardless of appearance — played over the loudspeakers.

The brand takes its name from the 21st chromosome, an extra one of which causes Down’s Syndrome, and reflects a desire to make people more diverse, caring and loving, and what Rosanne called everyone’s desire to be 21 years old.

She said the clothes were completely the work of herself and Madeline.

Madeline will be walking in another fashion show in New York on Monday, and also has plans to go to Paris fashion week, model in Los Angeles, show her line of clothing in Denver and model in London, her mother said.

Madeline recently got a US work visa, “the only person with an intellectual disability” to have got one, according to her mother and the duo are in and out of the States a lot.

The label took second slot in a triple bill in an arts space on the Lower East Side, opened by a flamboyant and emotional catwalk show featuring breast cancer survivors who dared to bare and closing with women in cocktail frocks accompanied by dogs in pet couture.

The 16 cancer survivors modeled lingerie and loungewear from AnaOno, which designs specifically for women who have had mastectomies, breast reconstruction or breast surgery.

Women of all colors and ages took part, the youngest of whom was 18 when she was diagnosed, in a bid to raise awareness of and boost research into stage four breast cancer.

They strutted the runway in platform boots and lingerie, some proudly whipping off their bras and covers to display breast reconstruction or double mastectomies to whoops and cheers from the supportive crowd. DM


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz