Nordstrom Catalog Features Models With Disabilities Because Fashion Should Be For Everyone
Loving the fashion industry is a tough job. Daily, we read about another photoshop fail or totally white-washed runway show that makes us question whether our loyalty would be better served elsewhere. But almost as often there's a story that shows us just how must more inclusive the industry is becoming. Today, that story is about Nordstrom's latest catalog, which features models with severe disabilities.
This is actually a yearly tradition for the major department store. According to AP, Nordstrom has been using models with disabilities since 1997 (waaay before body positivity was a "thing" in fashion). For the July 2014 catalog, which kicks off Nordstrom's giant annual fall preview sale, the models include a woman in a wheelchair with an amazing violet pixie cut and a man with a prosthetic leg showing off a killer pair of Nike running shoes.
Meg O'Connell from the consulting firm Global Disability Inclusion praised Nordstrom in a conversation with AP about the ads:
"Identifying companies that utilize models or actresses with disabilities has been like finding a needle in a haystack." Nordstrom, she added, "is a leader in this space and has been a long-standing supporter of disability inclusion not only in their advertising but also in employment and accessibility in their stores."
Time to give Nordstrom a rousing standing ovation for that one. Not only does the company use models with disabilities, but they place them alongside the other models without any additional fan-fare. All of the models are presented equally, as they should be. "Love yourself!" tag lines are great, but sometimes it's nice to have a brand quietly make use of diverse models without also jumping up and down and yelling "LOOK AT US! WE'RE BEING INCLUSIVE!"
That being said, I would support this no matter what. We need more ad campaigns featuring people who resemble, well, people. And that's exactly Nordstrom's goal, according to what Tara Darrow, a spokesperson for Nordstrom, told AP about the campaign:
[U]sing the models is "really about reflecting the customers and communities we serve. We serve diverse customers and it's an opportunity for them to see themselves when they're looking through the book or online. ... We don't promote it or go out and talk about it. We just think they look great."
So how about we all go hit up that Nordstrom sale, huh? I can't think of a company better deserving of my hard-earned money right now.