The Fendace show, held at the end of Milan Fashion Week in September, made headlines for a variety of reasons: Fendi designers Kim Jones and Silvia Fendi had created their own version of Versace, and Donatella Versace had created the his Fendi; it was the first time that two brands of different luxury groups were released in the archives of the other; and the runway was filled with former supermodels, including Kristin McMenamy, Naomi Campbell, Amber Valletta, Kate Moss, and Gigi Hadid.
Yet perhaps the most notable aspect of the show may have been one of the smallest: a white tubeless pump visible on the upper left leg of Lila Grace Moss Hack, a 19-year-old model who struck the runway in a gold and white Fendi costume. x Versace, high cut on the thigh, and jacket with Greek profiles.
An Omnipod insulin pump used to treat type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disease that can be diagnosed at any age – my daughter was diagnosed when she was 8 – it was impossible not to notice. Her appearance on the runway, highlighting an often invisible condition, was another step in defining fashion’s inclusiveness.
Although the latest fashion season, earlier this fall, may have been the most inclusive in race, age, size and gender, according to The Fashion Spot, a trend forecasting site, models with disabilities remain underrepresented and underexposed.
Laura Winson is the director of Zebedee Management, a modeling agency founded in 2017 to represent disabled and visually different models. “Before Zebedee, disability was not included in the diversity debate,” he said. “Only 0.02 percent of the people featured in fashion advertising had a disability.”
The image of Ms. Moss Hack with her pump in Fendace circulated rapidly among the T1D community – according to JDRF, an organization that funds T1D research, there are about 1.6 million Americans who have it – and it has sparked a flurry of support messages. Melany Gray posted in Ms. Moss Hack’s Instagram feed, “The whole T1D community greets you!” Angie Martin wrote: “I love showing your photo to my 11 year old T1D daughter.” And Eliska Pole simply posted: “Thank you for wearing your insulin pump with such pride.”
Although Ms. Moss Hack declined to comment on her decision to go public with her pump, she was the only model in the Fendace show to wear a revealing swimsuit, and given scrutiny of any model on a runway, she is hard to believe the choice was an accident.
This is especially true when trawling through more than 30 magazine covers, features and runway shots with Ms. Moss Hack and two other models, Stephanie Bambi Northwood-Blyth and Grace Clover, who also have T1D and wear insulin pumps. , they did not reveal any pumps or other glucose monitoring devices. It was not clear whether they had been removed, hidden or erased, but it is also undeniable that they had been erased.
Ms. Northwood-Blyth, a 30-year-old Australian model, walked the runways for Balenciaga and Chanel and was the face of Calvin Klein’s CK One perfume. A T1D advocate who has been modeling since she was 14 and received her diagnosis of T1D at 12, said that while she found support in the industry, she has sometimes chosen to remove her glucose meter at work.
“It has always been my choice because there are days when I want to talk about diabetes, but there are days when I would take it off or when I don’t have that one-line explanation ready to go,” Ms. Northwood-Blyth said.
Ms. Clover, 19, was diagnosed with T1D at 14, two years before she started modeling and has walked for Dior, JW Anderson, Prada, Ferragamo and Fendi, she wasn’t sure if she had ever been asked to take off your décolleté on set.
“I have a feeling that I was there on one occasion, but that was because I asked if it would be a problem, as it would be visible in the look,” she said, adding: “I understand that perfectly. It can be photoshopped later. “
Like the pump worn by Ms. Moss Hack, constant blood glucose monitors (CGM) or blood glucose monitors (BGM) help reduce the need for finger pricks or insulin injections and provide better blood sugar regulation, particularly for those with T1D.
As visual indicators of T1D, these devices open lines of communication and improve people’s understanding of T1D.
“Seeing Lila wearing her cleavage reminded me that I had fallen back on the practical need to communicate with people, instead of sharing my experience in a more open way,” said Ms. Clover, who now wears her CGM for all of her. modeling work.
“I hope others out there can look to Grace as a role model and feel reassured that they too can achieve whatever they set out to do,” said Levi Asher, associate director of development at IMG Models.
For Irish author and disability activist Sinead Burke, who suffers from achondroplasia, a genetic disease which is the most common form of dwarfism, seeing models with disabilities on the runway is important because, she said, “fashion touches everyone because we all have need to wear Dresses. It is almost universal ”.
That Ms. Moss Hack may not have realized that wearing her insulin pump visible on the runway “would be a big deal,” said Ms. Burke, “is, in and of itself, a success.”