The Cerebral Palsy Foundation will host its third annual Design for Disability Fashion Show and Gala on May 9 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street in New York. The event showcases breakthrough innovations in fashion for people with disabilities, featuring student-designed looks that are both fashion-forward and accessible.
Anna Sui is this year’s Design for Disability Design Mentor. Over the past several months, she has mentored fashion design students from Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute and Parsons The New School of Design, as they tackle the challenges in fit, closures, durability and form to create collections which address the physical needs of people with disabilities. The outfits will be showcased in a high-powered runway show, featuring notable and accomplished individuals in the world of disabilities.
“I’ve always been affected by how a bold assertion of color and whimsy can bring so much to the world and people who live within it. It’s been joyful and meaningful to see how this sensibility applies so spectacularly to this work,” said Sui.
Models this year include Madison Ferris, who starred as Laura Wingfield in Sam Gold’s production of “The Glass Menagerie;” Andrea Dalzell, a former Miss Wheelchair New York, and Jessy Yates, the first physically disabled person to be admitted to Yale’s Graduate School of Drama.
“It’s tough to admit, but it’s often hard for people to see past disability,” said Yates. “There are so many misconceptions and misperceptions. What better way to change this than by creating fashion that helps us to see it all differently?”
The evening starts with a Virtual Reality experience to give guests a firsthand look at the challenges of a life lived as a non-verbal individual in a wheelchair and aims to overcome common misperceptions associated with their experiences.
Richard Ellenson, chief executive officer of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, said, “This year, we’ve take the gala to a whole new place. People will take a transformational journey. The VR experience will let us experience the depth of how we misperceive others, and the runway show will allow us to celebrate not only the models with disabilities and the fashion designers, but also our own recalibration as we see disability in a proper light: bright, vivid, and with a true measure of gorgeousness.”