Of all the groups of people ignored by the people who make clothing advertisements, the disabled might be most underrepresented; it’s sadly rare to even hear them get mentioned in conversations around this issue. That might be starting to change, though, at least in the world of children’s fashion, as a little boy with Down Syndrome has been showing off his cuteness in ads for major outlets like Target (above) and Nordstrom (below).
The boy’s name is Ryan, and his parents are very proud of him. “We are very pleased that Nordstrom placed Ryan in their catalog,” wrote Ryan’s mom in a comment on a blog called Noah’s Dad (written by a parent of another child with Down Syndrome). “The whole process of modeling is an extreme confidence booster for him. He received so much warmth and caring from the Nordstrom crew that he thought they were there just for him!” Confidence booster, eh? Sounds like Ryan’s making out better than most fashion models.
The comment continues:
We are honored that Ryan is making the Down Syndrome community proud. He is a beautiful boy inside and out. He makes us better parents, and a better family. Our children with Down Syndrome are amazing! So many have had huge health obstacles to overcome from the very beginning of their lives. We, their families, know how far they have come, and how much more is ahead of them. Every day is a journey, and a celebration.
It’s also notable that none of the ads in which Ryan has appeared present him as being different from the other kids or otherwise call attention to his Down Syndrome. He’s just a regular lil’ cutie like any other, wearing clothes, having fun. I’m not sure we’re going to see disabled people in aspirational high fashion ads any time soon, but seeing them represented in family-targeted catalogs is certainly refreshing.
More like this, please.