As New York Fashion Week kicks off, expect to see a new face proudly strutting down the runway. Meet Jamie Brewer: American Horror Story actress, disability advocate, and now, the first woman with Down Syndrome to grace the NYFW catwalk.
If you didn’t already think Jamie Brewer was amazing after her appearances on AHS, check this out: She's active with a ton of nonprofits in the disability community, including her leadership role in her home state of Texas, where she lobbied and won for the state to ban the use of the word "retarded" in legislation.
Her participation in NYFW has been a long time coming, and it's thanks to the efforts of some other incredible women. Fashion designer Carrie Hammer, who created a custom design for Jamie, first garnered media attention with the launch of her "Role Models Not Runway Models" campaign last year. Her catwalks featured female CEOs, scientists, humanitarians, and inspiring women of all shapes and sizes last year—including Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, the first woman to model at NYFW in a wheelchair.
In the past year, Hammer has received hundreds of emails and letters from people within the disabled community, thanking her for her efforts towards understanding and inclusion.
One of those emails was from a woman named Katie Driscoll, who runs a nonprofit called Changing the Face of Beauty, which is dedicated to showing the world how beautiful all people are, and advocates for better media representation of people with disabilities. Katie’s daughter Grace was born with Down Syndrome, and she reached out to Hammer, asking her to consider using a model that would be inspiring to Grace.
In addition to Jamie—who, Today.com reports, is wearing a black A-line dress inspired by her work on AHS and intended to be worn someday by Michelle Obama—Hammer's runway has also been populated with other amazing women who don't fit into a traditional standard of beauty. We can’t wait for the rest of the photos to emerge—previous Hammer shows have featured racecar drivers, transgender activists, and quadruple amputees, all of whom have looked stunning and confident as they took their turn on the runway and shattered our expectations of "what a fashion show looks like."