The Self-Determination Runway was billed as “Canton’s inaugural all ages, all abilities, all body-types fashion show.”
CANTON A fashion show Saturday at the Canton Memorial Civic Center had all the trappings of your typical runway event — high-energy music, trendy clothes and a slew of dolled-up models.
But the Self-Determination Runway — billed as “Canton’s inaugural all ages, all abilities, all body-types fashion show” — was anything but typical. The approximately 25 models ranged in age, gender, shape and size. Some walked independently down the catwalk, some used assistive devices or needed helping hands and some stopped to show off their dance skills.
In addition to talking about garments and designers, the MC highlighted how the models used wearable technology, mentioned their self-care techniques and pointed out items like ankle braces and adaptive clothing and accessories.
“I want everyone to see exactly what these models are capable of,” said event co-chair Lisa Robarge of Siffrin. “Their excitement, the joy they have and what they offer to the community.”
The event was put on by Siffrin, a non-profit provider of disability services, with collaboration from the Stark County Board of Development Disabilities, the YWCA, Beyond Our Boundaries, Faith In Action and Shades Salon. Clothing was provided by local retailers.
All proceeds went to the Siffrin Hope Fund.
The show was designed to celebrate each other’s differences, beauty and diversity, said Siffrin COO Kim Larson-Phillips, event co-chair. “We’re stronger together.”
Organizers plan to keep growing the event and add more technology and adaptive fashions in the future, she said.
The event began with a short keynote from author and speaker Brian Wagner of A Radical Vision. Wagner, who was diagnosed with a brain malformation, hydrocephalus, lost his sight in 2011. His vision was partially restored following brain surgery and multiple eye surgeries.
He encouraged the audience to “embrace their own personal blindness to achieve a greater vision for their lives.”
The show featured casual styles, business attire and formal wear. Between sets, model gave brief interviews about what keeps them happy, healthy and connected to the community.
“I think it’s important for everyone to understand that everyone has abilities and kindness counts,” said model Vivian Mayle.
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