It was a show unlike other fashion shows.
Instead of tall willowy models, taking to the catwalk were unique men and women, boys and girls with different disabilities. Some were hearing-impaired. Others were visually-impaired. Some had intellectual disability. But all radiated joy and confidence as they walked down the runway, looking out into a sea of camera flashes and wild applause.
The message is powerful yet simple: Beauty is inclusive. We are all beautiful in our own unique ways.
The SJ50 O.WOW show stands for Walk of Wonder. It was organized by the Adplanet Group to celebrate SJ50 – the 50th anniversary of Singapore-Japan diplomatic relations.
“We wanted to show that beauty is not exclusive. Adplanet partnered with Enabling Village as it represents persons across all disabilities and ages. Its vision of an inclusive society resonates well with one of the key pillars for the SJ50 event,” said Linus Kan, Account Manager at Adplanet.
Over two days in October, models with disabilities from the Enabling Village walked the runway in this fashion show with a difference. They radiated sheer joy and confidence as the Paragon Mall’s atrium resounded with applause and admiration in acknowledgement of a different type of beauty.
Ms Chia Ai Leng, Deputy Director, Communications & Development of Enabling Village said, “We hope that this fashion show will give the public a chance to meet our models with different abilities, and recognise that at the end of the day, they are no different from you and me, all with our own uniqueness and strength.”
Quietly working backstage to support the models and the show, were 10 students from TP Design School’s Apparel Design and Merchandising course.
It was in the middle of their vacation, but they gamely volunteered their time to be part of this very special show. Over two weeks, they attended fittings, rehearsals and photo-shoots with the models, ever ready to lend a hand.
The experience gave them first-hand insight into the backstage running of a fashion show, working closely with show producers and with Adplanet. They learned the important lesson of looking deeper to challenge conventional perceptions of beauty. More importantly, as designers of tomorrow, they learned how design and fashion can shape and influence social norms and perceptions.