runway of dreams group

For many years now, there has been a growing number of people demanding more accessibility for those with disabilities.  It seems, however, that fashion has been slow to catch up when it comes to adaptive clothing for the disabled community.  Mindy Scheier certainly agreed.  The mother who lives in New York, USA decided to do something about the lack of accessible yet fashionable clothing available.  The result was the Runway of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to help adaptive fashion become more mainstream.

Fashion for All

Mindy was prompted to act after her eight-year-old son Oliver complained that he couldn’t wear jeans like his friends.  Oliver lives with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy and as a result, wears leg braces.  Oliver complained that as jeans couldn’t fit over his leg braces, he felt excluded from the world of fashion.  It occurred to Mindy that if her family were struggling, there could be millions of others looking for fashionable and accessible clothing.  Luckily, Mindy had 20 years of experience in the fashion industry and as a result, the Runway of Dreams Foundation was born.  The foundation is built on the belief that clothing is a human right and aims to make adaptive clothing more mainstream.  Mindy told Footwear News online;

The general perception is that people with disabilities are a niche population and they don’t care what they look like. But that’s quite the opposite; they are like everybody else,” (Footwear News, 2019)

Mindy runway of dreams

Questioning the Mainstream

Mindy started off experimenting with different designs and hidden adaptations and not long afterwards teamed up with Tommy Hilfiger for his hugely successful Tommy Adaptive range of accessible kids’ clothing.  Though Mindy has a wealth of experience in the fashion industry, creating an independent accessible clothing line wasn’t part of Mindy’s plan.  Mindy’s ultimate aim for Runway of Dreams was to help large companies introduce adaptive clothing as standard.  Mindy explained to Fast Company;

“In the beginning, people asked ‘Why not do your own line?’  That would have been completely opposite of the mission, which is mainstream clothing made [to be made] adaptive.” (Fast Company, 2019)

runway wheelchiar

Building on Success

Since its inception, Runways of Dreams has gained more than its fair share of recognition.  Most recently, the organisation launched 2019’s New York Fashion Week.  With the help of models with various different disabilities, the organisation gained widespread praise and recognition.  As for Mindy, the ultimate goal is still to be achieved and she doesn’t plan on stopping until she gets there.  Mindy explained to Fast Company;

“The ultimate goal is adaptive departments that are no different than ‘petite’ or ‘plus-size’.  We want to help bridge that gap between the fashion industry and a demographic that hasn’t been serviced.” (Fast Company, 2019)

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