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It's been a good week for the fashion industry and body image. First, the news broke that JCPenney's mannequins are representing people of many different shapes and sizes. Now, Nordstrom is doing something just as remarkable. With the debut of the the retailer's anniversary catalog comes four new faces who don't look like your "average" fashion model.
Jillian Mercado is perhaps the most recognizable in the group. With a background in editorial, Mercado was also the face of a Diesel spring '14 ad in which she and her wheelchair made an appearance for the first time in a major fashion campaign. Mercado was diagnosed with spastic muscular dystrophy as a child and has used a wheelchair for transportation ever since. But, the 26-year-old with choppy, blue-tinted hair isn't the only model who's breaking the mold. Nordstrom's recently released photos also include: Alex Minksy, an Armed Forces vet who lost a leg while serving in Afghanistan; Shaholly Ayers, who was born without the lower half of her right arm; and Emilia Taguchi, a 7-year-old who has Down syndrome.
Like JCPenney's, Nordstrom's catalog is setting a precedent for the future of advertising. If fact, the brand has been featuring models with disabilities in its catalogs since 1997. While some magazines may be filled with images that sell a limited definition of what "beauty" means, these inclusive projects — ones that celebrate a more diverse customer base — stand out above the rest. Bravo, Nordstom. Let's hope we see more of this.
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