To hype its trendiest looks for fall, Nordstrom is turning to models with various disabilities clad in everything from designer boots to kids’ fashions.
Among those pictured in the 88-page book are 7-year-old Emilia Taguchi, who has Down syndrome, and Jillian Mercado who models boots while seated in her wheelchair. Alex Minsky, a veteran with a prosthetic leg, is featured sporting Nike running shoes and Shaholly Ayers, who was born without her right arm below the elbow, spotlights a Dooney & Bourke bag.
Four people with disabilities grace the pages of the upscale department store’s current anniversary sale catalog promoting the retailer’s biggest sale of the year.
For the retailer, inclusion is simply good business, said Tara Darrow, a Nordstrom spokeswoman who indicated the company has used models with disabilities since 1997.
“For us, it’s really about reflecting the diverse customers and communities we serve. We hope when our customers receive the catalog, they see themselves in it,” Darrow said.
Gail Williamson of Down Syndrome in Arts & Media represents Taguchi and helped the Southern California girl land the Nordstrom photo shoot. In nearly two decades representing models and actors with disabilities, she said the number of requests for such talent has increased, but not quick enough.
“The media is the fastest way to get information to the public,” said Williamson who credited other retailers including Target, JC Penney, Toys “R” Us and Macy’s who have also featured models with disabilities in their advertising.
“Seeing images of people who are different than those in the community you live in helps prepare all of us to practice full inclusion everywhere,” she said.