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Case Studies / Disability Narratives

Case Study: Disability and Beauty

These projects use models with disabilities and mannequins to refocus our perceptions of physical attractiveness.

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 ‘Disabled’ Mannequins Remind Us That Beautiful Doesn’t Mean ‘Perfect’ 

Pro Infirmis, an organization for the disabled, created a series of mannequins based on real people with physical disabilities, working with individuals like Jasmine Rechsteiner, a Miss Handicap winner who has spine malformations, and Erwin Aljuki, an actor with brittle bone disease. The project’s title? “Because Who Is Perfect? Get Closer.”

There’s nothing ordinary about 29-year-old model Kelly Knox. She’s timelessly gorgeous, extremely brave, and was the winner of the BBC competition Britain’s Missing Top Model. What’s most striking about her, however, is the fact that Knox was born without a forearm. Since winning the modeling competition five years ago, Knox has landed some of the most coveted fashion spreads and walked runways around the world. Still, it hasn’t been easy for her; according to MailOnline, Knox’s disability proved to be a hindrance in her career, but she’s determined to change the way the fashion industry thinks when it comes to disabled models.

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Angela Rockwood is a model and the he star of the new Sundance Channel show “Push Girls” lost the use of her legs and most of her arm use in a car accident 11 years ago.

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Recognizing the diversity of its clientele, Nordstrom regularly advertises in minority publications including Essence, Latina, and Ability magazines and this year won Fortune magazine’s distinction among the 50 best companies for Asians, blacks, and Hispanics. In addition, at least one-third of Nordstrom’s advertisements feature models of color and models with disabilities.

“Our intent in showing models with disabilities was not to market specifically to that segment of consumers, but simply to show a diverse mix of people in our promotional materials,” says Nordstrom’s Amy Jones. “People with disabilities are a part of the diverse makeup of our customer base.”
Jones indicates that integrating models with disabilities into Nordstrom’s advertising materials and catalogs of clothing and accessories has been a seamless process. They’ve had no major challenges. “We simply work with contacts and agencies who represent models with disabilities,” she says. And the result? “We have received positive feedback from customers who tell us they appreciate our efforts to make sure our promotional materials reflect the diversity of the customers we serve.”

two models , one is missing a forearm two models, one has a prosthetic leg

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