Lifestyle show features models, styles addressing special needs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amid a week of shows dominated by fashion icons like Calvin Klein and Tom Ford, the Runway of Dreams Foundation gave a presentation on Wednesday devoted to stylish looks created specially for people with physical challenges.

The Fashion Revolution event, held on the eve of the first official day of New York Fashion Week: The Shows previewing the hottest Spring 2019 looks, featured 30 models with disabilities who hit the runway wearing adaptive clothing by design houses Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Target.

Designer and RODF founder Mindy Scheier said the idea for the foundation came via her son Oliver, who lives with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy.

“He vocalized to us that he really wanted to wear what everybody else gets to wear,” said Scheier.

“That truly opened my eyes to the need of not only my son Oliver, but the millions of people, almost 60 million” in the United States and a billion globally with a disability, she said.

Model Hannah Gavios, 25, said the show provided a unique opportunity not just for fashion buyers, but for professionals like herself.

“I don’t feel like I should have to hide my leg braces,” said Gavios, who fell off a cliff in 2016 and suffered a spinal injury and was sporting a Nike creation.

“I don’t feel like I should have to wear anything over it, I don’t want people to see anything bumpy underneath my pants - I want to be able to show them off but I want them to look cool and I want it to be part of my style and represent my fashion and who I am, my personality,” she said.

Scheier started RODF, which works with the fashion industry to include people with disabilities fully through adaptive clothing as well as clothing donations, in 2014.

“We have scholarship programs for the next generation of designers that are working with adaptive clothing, because our belief is that everybody deserves to wear what they want to wear and it’s time for the industry to understand that people come in all different shapes, sizes and abilities,” she told Reuters.

RJ Mitte, who starred on the award-winning television series “Breaking Bad” and has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, hosted the event. Retired naval officer and founder of the nonprofit clothing organization “Wounded Wear” Jason Redman, who suffered a military injury, was honored as a source of inspiration.

Writing by Chris Michaud