On Monday Sept. 12th I received and email asking If my email address could be shared with the White House because they were interested in inviting me to an event.
The White House Disability Liaison in collaboration with White House Office of Science and Technology put together #DesignForAll, an event aimed at celebrating Inclusive design, Assistive technology and Prosthetics.
On Tuesday 9/13 I was asked to get on a call with my contact at the White House. I had all the logistical info, what did they want to talk about? I was excited and puzzled.
5:01 PM– I sat at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan and waited for the call while listening to two Japanese girls making plans on what they wanted to see/do in NYC. After going back and forth they agreed they wanted to go get Artichoke Pizza. I had just eaten but was craving artichoke pizza, should I get some? Suddenly, my phone rang. Blocked number, must be the White House. Not only was I invited to the event but they wanted me to model my ALLELES leg cover (and if I haven’t announced it on the blog yet I am one of their brand ambassador). They also inquired about ALLELES and wether or not they could join me at the White House.
After the call, I quickly reached out to the founders of ALLELES McCauley & Ryan with the good news and put them in touch with the White House, 30 min later they had booked their flights from Victoria, Canada to D.C.
I had been working with ALLELES for close to 7 month but had never met the founders in person. This was so exciting on so many level I wondered if I was going to be able to sleep before the big day.
With only 24hrs to get ready I packed a small bag and flew to D.C the next day.
As Instructed, McCauley, Ryan and I arrived at the White House hours before the event. We did a run of show and met the the other models , Among them Jillian Mercado who is an advocate/model represented by IMG models/wheelchair user and has been featured on Major campaigns such as Diesel, Nordstrom and Beyonce’s Online store.
The panelists included Nike and Kathy D. Woods who is the founder of a clothing brand that makes clothes for little people .
The event featured designers & models who have inspired innovative designs from around the United States. With Bionic arms, ear piece technology for hearing aid, clothes to accommodate little people, scoliosis braces & more.The event featured a panel discussion among designers on their experience in the industry, and models got to share how the devices/designs they wear are changing their lives.
I know people who often tell me how they have no interest in fashion. But little do they know every decision they make on what to wear and what clothes to buy, reflects their sense of style and proves that they are in fact interested in fashion. This is how we express ourselves and how we want to be perceived. If you hate leather pants and are more of a jeans person that’s fine and even better you get to make this decision by buying what you want to wear. The same goes for assistive devices, i.e.Why should everyone who uses crutches be stuck with using a silver metal crutch?
“Design For All” underscored the importance of inclusive fashion and how stylish assistive devices and prosthetics allow people with disabilities to express themselves and decide how they want to be perceived. Someone at the event said it best when he said that when he meets strangers, his stylish prosthetic leg has helped “change the focus of the conversation from disability to design.”
I am glad and honored to have been part of this event not only because my work in the mainstream fashion world was being noticed but to be part of the first ever fashion show at the White House was a day to remember.
Check out some of the pics below