Tonight, Zappos Adaptive will team up with Runway of Dreams Foundation for a livestreamed fashion show.
In recent years, both the retailer and nonprofit have been hard at work thinking of ways to make the needs of people with disabilities answered on the runway and in the marketplace.
“Adaptive should just be another category in the fashion industry,” said Mindy Scheier, the founder of Runway of Dreams Foundation. “This is a movement.”
Scheier, a fashion designer, told FN that she didn’t realize the need for a more inclusive marketplace until after she had her son, who has a rare form of muscular dystrophy.
The Runway of Dreams Foundation founder started experimenting with modifications on clothing after her son wanted to wear jeans like his friends in school but couldn’t find a pair that fit correctly.
“The general perception is that people with disabilities are a niche population and they don’t care what they look like. But that’s quite the opposite; they are like everybody else,” Scheier told FN.
In 2015, Scheier launched the Runway of Dreams Foundation. The following year, she teamed up with Tommy Hilfiger for the fashion company’s first-ever adaptable collection.
“It’s truly a for the people, by the people cause,” said Scheier.
The Zappos Adaptive and Runway of Dreams Foundation Fashion Show will be held in Las Vegas tonight. The program has a cast of 30 models who range across the age, race, gender and disability spectrum.
“We really focused a lot on the vast differences of disabilities for the show,” Scheier said. “Some of our models are wheelchair users who either had a spinal injury or muscular disease. We also have models with down syndrome and autism, as well, and others with a range of neuromuscular diseases.”
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MEET THE MODEL: Rhoda! Being in a wheelchair hasn’t stopped Rhoda Mills from setting the world ablaze. As Ms. Wheelchair Nevada 2012, she has used her “Inclusion” platform to encourage people with disabilities to live out loud. A full-time government agency employee during the week, and a superhero advocate during her free time. There is no issue that Mills won’t tackle head-on with grace. She has also served her community as a governor appointed member of the State of Nevada’s Independent Living Advisory Council and continues to dedicate much of her time to important social issues like homelessness, veterans benefits, mental health, foster children, single parenting, and domestic violence. Her mission is to help create a more inclusive society where “nobody” gets left behind. By participating in this fashion show, she hopes that all industries will take note that people with disabilities are ambitious, talented, hardworking, valuable consumers, who are very capable and deserve the same access and opportunities as everyone else. She is honored to roll the runway for the Zappos Adaptive & Runway of Dreams Fashion Show on Wednesday! // @zapposadaptive @runwayofdreams @really_roda #RethinkTheRunway
All the clothes and shoes for the fashion show are products available on Zappos Adaptives’ website. Each item on Zappos Adaptive is designed with unique features that address a variety of needs. (Think magnetic buttons and shoes that zip from toe to the upper.)
“We’ve learned a lot from needs of customers,” said Molly Kettle, the director of Zappos Adaptive. “Some have limited dexterity in their hands; other people have trouble with shoes accommodating braces. It’s a whole range of things.”
The Zappos Adaptive and Runway of Dreams Foundation Fashion Show will be livestreamed here at 6 p.m. PT.