Model With Down Syndrome Is First Ever To Walk At NY Fashion Week


In recent years, the fashion industry has made impressive strides in its efforts to promote diversity on the runways during Fashion Week.

At DKNY's Fall '14 show, “real people” plucked from the streets of New York were hired to model Donna Karan's urban label. In another example, Rick Owens nixed models altogether, instead opting to cast members of a step-dance team in his show.

And last year, Danielle Sheypuk made her New York Fashion Week debut as the first-ever wheelchair-bound model on the runway.

This Fashion Week will mark another impressive step for the industry, as actress Jamie Brewer is slated to become the first woman with Down syndrome to walk the runway as part of designer Carrie Hammer's Role Models Not Runway Models initiative.

The revolutionary initiative, launched last year, was also what put Sheypuk on the runway.

Shortly after last year's show, Katie Driscoll, cofounder of nonprofit Changing The Face Of Beauty, contacted Hammer to thank her for including a disabled woman in her inaugural show.

She wrote,

Thank you for being the change that is long overdue. I could literally cry every time I read an article talking about your decision to include a model who just happens to have a disability. YOU are what this world needed!

When Hammer learned that Driscoll's daughter, Grace, had down syndrome, she asked her to suggest a role model for the girl.

Driscoll suggested Brewer, which Hammer ran with.

The "American Horror Story" actress told "Today" of her upcoming runway debut,

It's a true inspiration being a role model for any young women to [encourage them] in being who they are and showing who they are.

As for what she'll be wearing? Hammer says Brewer's custom dress will be based on the popular FX show.

Hammer reports,

'American Horror Story' is dark, scary, bewitching, so we had to go with black, and Jamie has a beautiful body with a teeny waist and curves, and we went with an A-line.

Brewer, for her part, is “honored to be in [the dress].”

She adds,

Many women have many sides to their personality, this dress fits… mine.

Carrie Hammer may not be the best-known in the fashion industry, but with her incredible initiatives and game-changing shows, it won't be long before she's a household name.

Her work is set to change the fashion industry forever -- and we couldn't be more excited to see what she has in store next.

Brewer is best known for her role on FX's "American Horror Story."

Brewer smiles on her way to the Emmy Awards.

Brewer smiles alongside Miss Los Angeles at a film festival.

Brewer and friends at the Teen Choice Awards.

Brewer, here on the set of "Southland" with Michael Cudlitz.

Brewer poses at the DSAOC Red Carpet Ball with friends.

At the Actors with Autism charity event with Dee Wallace.

She participated in the Rock Your Socks campaign for World Down Syndrome Day.

Brewer's awesome fans are super supportive.

Citations: Meet the First Model with Down Syndrome to Walk at New York Fashion Week (E! Online), Jamie Brewer Will Be NYFWs First Model With Down Syndrome (NY Daily News)