Last week, Gigi’s Playhouse, a national education and achievement organization that aims to change a global perspective on Down syndrome, had its NYC Fashion Show 2019. And, for the second-annual event, the models were none other than kids with Down syndrome who spent the evening happily-strutting down the runway.
New York’s Fashion Week may have ended, but this didn’t stop these trendy toddlers and teens from parading before hundreds of spectators.
One of the organization’s major goals for young people with Down syndrome is to encourage more engagement in their homes, schools, and communities. In their efforts to fulfill this mission, Gigi’s Playhouse has partnered with Bloomingdale’s for a second year to hold a fashion show.
Eileen McClary, an associate for the New York chapter and director of the fashion show, said the event was part of a larger effort to let its members be advocates for the center.
“I think it’s clear from all of the models that it was a wild success, and it kind of blends the two intersections of my life, which are philanthropy and fashion,” she said.
Fashion Forward Models
The models strutted down the runway in their outfits that were complemented with pops of color and animal print. One model’s look was composed of a leopard coat over a T-shirt with the message: “Go Love Yourself.”
Sixteen-year-old, Laura Lyle, boasted about her modeling-experience post-event. “It was really fun. I loved walking down, showing everybody the outfits, and I feel like we’re making a difference,” Lyle said.
While the event was free, an after-party was hosted to raise funds for the NYC chapter. McClary explained that it takes a lot of hands to put on an event like this, but it’s worth it.
“It just shows the power and just involvement of this (Down syndrome) community, and I can’t wait to do more things with them. To me, it’s one of the most inspiring things that you could ever be a part of. … All of these models are some of the happiest people I’ve ever come in contact with,” she said. “And if you ever want to feel joy like I think this entire store felt tonight, you can be a part of this.”