aaron philip is a pioneer for equality in fashion
This article originally appeared in i-D’s The Superstar Issue, no. 354, Winter 2018
The spring/summer 19 runways were the most diverse on record. At New York Fashion Week alone, 44.8% of models on the runway were models of colour, 49 were plus-sized and 53 identified as trans or non-binary. While the latter two only equate to 2.2% and 2.41% of all models respectively, with every season these numbers are gradually improving. But despite this modest progress, the number of models in wheelchairs remained at 0%. For Aaron Philip – a 17-year-old trans model with cerebral palsy – this needs to change, urgently.
“I was supposed to do New York Fashion Week this season,” Aaron says over the phone from New York. “We made provisions for me to have my debut, but there were problems – no runways were ready to accommodate wheelchairs. Apparently they weren’t even physically accessible at all.” The simple fact no show spaces were accessible to wheelchair users shows how far there is to go, but Aaron’s looking to be the change she wants to see in the world. “It’s like, ok, I think this is a conversation that needs to be had, because it’s wrong. I would love to have a debut on the runway, and I think it would be really impactful for my community to be more visible in high fashion.”
Despite the prejudices she’s experienced – at school, online, on dating apps – her family have remained stable and supportive throughout. “My family are really lovely. They’re incredible people, my mom is incredible – she lives in Antigua, but she’s the biggest part of my life. I live with my dad and my little brother. They make a lot of sacrifices. It’s amazing having that force behind you driving you forward.” Now a senior in high school, Aaron plans on studying a creative degree – “photography, or drama, or visual arts” – in New York after graduating. Professionally, her energy will be focused on ensuring that disabled models like herself get the opportunity to do runway shows going forward. “I think people think because I’m physically disabled I’m not capable of achieving most things. Well, I’m here.”
Photography Zora Sicher
Styling Zara Zachrisson
Hair Takayoshi Tsukisawa at Streeters using Oribe. Make-up Zenia Jaeger at Steeters using Makeup Forever. Styling assistance Erika Golcher and Karolina Frechowicz. Model Aaron Philip at Elite.
Source : Ryan White Link