It all started back in January when Diesel released an ad campaign "We Are Connected" with it's first disabled model named Jillian Mercado.
Jillian has muscular dystrophy and is bound to a wheelchair, but that didn't stop her from following her dreams of being in the fashion world.
She's actually been in the modeling world for quiet some time building her resume in fashion, interning at Allure Magazine, even attending New York's Fashion Institute Of Technology where she studied merchandising. After graduating from FIT she went on to cover New York's Fashion Week for PMc Magazine and even started her own fashion blog under the name Manufactured 1987.
She was very aware of how hard it is even for a normal person to go into an industry that is known to make you or break you, but her determination and love for fashion made her willing to try break into the very high profile and critical industry and turn it on it's head.
"I knew I was throwing myself into the fire when I wanted to work in fashion, I work equally as hard as everyone else does in this industry, and my chair doesn't give me permission to slack off. My passion is equal to yours -- I just come with a chair that moves."
But Jilian isn't the only one trying to break the view on disability in fashion, a group of Russian designers, Daria Razumihina, Sabina Gorelik, Dmitriy Neu, Masha Sharoeva, Albina Bikbulatova, Oksana Livencova, Miguel Angelo Fernandes Carvalho and Christine Wolf came together to design clothes specifically for people with disabilities and use only models with disabilities to showcase their designs at Russia's Fashion Week.
In November the high store chain target featured a toddler with Autism, which is a first for the store.
Other aspects of the entertainment industry have opened up to people with disabilities into the mainstream and the latest is British-Latvian Pop singer and model Viktoria Modesta.
Modesta's left leg was damaged at birth and at the age of 20 made the difficult decision to amputate it to make it easier for her to be able to improve her mobility.
Back in December Channel 4, a British network launched #bornrisky which was a campaign to promote her music video for a song titled, Prototype.
She treats her amputeeism as empowering, as part of her artistic expression which can thrill and influence - not an accident of nature which demands sympathy. She defies being categorized and makes us re –think meaning of the word ‘disabled’. --Excerpt from her website
What I like about the video besides the artistic view is that before the video begins it starts with the line "Forget what you know about disability" because it does just that, once the video is over you forget that she even has one because of the way it's shot and choreographed and rather in awe of what she can do.
As many young girls growing up, I always had a dream of being a popstar (even though I can't sing to save my life) or a model, but I never saw someone like me up on the runway, an ad or on TV and I'd feel silly even to think someone like me could ever do those things. It's taken a while, but I am so glad the perception of people with disabilities is slowly changing in the mainstream of today's generation.
It's only the beginning and I am hoping it will continue on and change the world!!...