This Disabled Model Just Made a Powerful Runway Debut

February 24th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Today's fashion industry is moving—albeit rather slowly—away from conventional fashion industry stereotypes. This February's New York City Fashion Week was lauded as more racially diverse by The New York Times, and included plus-size and transgender models as well as the runway debut of Lauren Wasser, who lost her right leg to Toxic shock syndrome.

As ATTN: has previously reported, Wasser made headlines in 2015 when VICE published an extensive piece on her recovery and fashion industry comeback after she sued the Kotex tampon company after losing her leg to TSS. Her runway debut last week made industry history and was a huge stride for disabled individuals—with her prosthetic leg proudly on display.

Before her courageous return to fashion, Wasser also an athlete, took four years away from fashion and struggled to reconcile her disability with her identity, body-image, and career.

"It fucks with you. You live your whole life and think, 'I'm an athlete,' or, 'I'm a pretty girl,' but this was something physical that I had no control over. It took me a while to figure out if I was still worthy, if I was still pretty," she told Vice.

Since her VICE feature, Wasser has used her visibility to push back against the disability stigma, erode the taboo of TSS, and criticize how ableism shapes the fashion industry. In December, Wassser recreated a controversial shoot in which Kylie Jenner used a wheelchair as a prop.

wasser jenner criticism

Wasser bravely and unapologetically returned to the runway last week in Chromat's "Lumina" show along side plus-size models and Isis King, who is transgender. The forward thinking line drew its inspiration from the technology and strength of human bodies and their physical architecture.

While Wasser's suit against Kotex remains ongoing, her fashion week debut is a clear victory for disabled individuals and TSS awareness.

[H/T HuffPo]