Support Portraying Fashion Models With Disabilities


Target: Blake Nordstrom, CEO of Nordstrom and Ronald B. Johnson, CEO of J.C. Penney

Goal: Show your appreciation for the inclusion of models with disabilities in advertisements and as mannequins

Most models featured in advertisements or displayed in stores as mannequins are severely underweight yet above the average height. Nordstrom and J.C. Penney not only plan to incorporate models with normal, healthy proportions, but also models with disabilities. Studies have shown that there are more size 16s than 0 and 2 combined, that around 41.5 million people have a disability, and that 300,000 people in the United States have dwarfism. From models with dwarfism to autism, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney plan to include everyone.

Although they are not the first to include models with disabilities, these two companies’ campaigns mark a new era of beauty for the public. The first in the fashion industry to feature disabilities was Alexander McQueen, a high fashion designer. He had a model who was a Paralympic runner. Nevertheless, Nordstrom and J.C. Penny are the first companies that are having disabilities included regularly in stores and in advertisements, making models with disabilities more mainstream. Featuring people that are not celebrities is also an added bonus. Although there have been models with disabilities contained in companies’ magazines, they are seldom in the spotlight. Nordstrom and J.C. Penney plan to change that tradition.

Hopefully, people will realize that models with disabilities are truly models, and the campaigns by both companies will lead to more acceptance in employment and store accessibility. No clothes need to be changed; people’s minds need to be. Please praise the inclusion of models with disabilities, inspiring each individual to realize his or her beauty.


Dear Mr. Nordstrom and Mr. Johnson,

Thank you so much for incorporating models with disabilities into Nordstrom and J.C. Penney respectively, whether through advertisements or mannequins. Although designers have highlighted models with disabilities on the runway, your campaigns bring models with disabilities into stores and to the public. With a majority of models failing to represent a figure to which the public can relate, the steps both Nordstrom and J.C. Penney are taking to include models with disabilities brings the public a step forward in accepting themselves.

Please continue to show the public that beauty can be found in each and every person, from those who are missing arms to those using a wheelchair. Due to your actions, people with disabilities can be seen as models and the stigma of having a disability can disappear. From employment to accessibility in your stores, any action toward acceptance is appreciated. It is time people opened their minds. Many companies are following your lead already. Thank you both for being catalysts for change.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Christie Post via Keye TV

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