Inclusivity rules in an annual fashion for all-body quarterback show | Main characteristics


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PBefore 2012, Alicia Searcy was what she now calls “anti-fashion.” At an early age, her model mother criticized her body. “My legs were so fat, my hands were so big — things a little boy couldn’t understand,” she recalls.

Cersei was born with cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair and has difficulty with fine motor skills, which limits her choices in clothing.

“So for a long time,” Searcy says, “I was very anti-fashion. I didn’t want to do it, it looked like a bag lady, pride. Give it up.” But she began to realize something. So I would go out with other people or try and meet people. I would ask people around me, ‘What does she want? What should we do with her? So I decided to try and clean myself up and not look so ugly.’

Searcy began to see fashion as a language—something that could communicate your identity to the rest of the world. She started blogging about her experiment. In the year In 2012, very few people were talking about making fashion inclusive of all bodies and abilities—and no one knew Alicia. Her passion led her to Nashville Fashion Week. “I’m amazed at what they do,” she said. “I’m amazed at the talent in this city,” she said, sitting in the audience at an NFW event, “why can’t we all do this?” She had an idea. In other words, why can’t fashion promote body positivity and self-esteem, when it is so inclusive? Maybe it is.

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Alicia Searcy wears Laura Citron.

She began discussing having a more inclusive fashion scene with her friend and collaborator Krystle Ramos. She continued to experiment and continued to blog. Then in 2016, David Bowie died. “That just hit me over the head,” Cersei says. “And I went, ‘Oh no. David Bowie may die. If he can die, so can I.’ “

Buoyed by Cersei’s energy and vision, a small group of volunteers staged the runway show she had dreamed of for years. Called Fashion for Every Body, the 2016 event was sold out three days before the event. Local fashion designers responded to her call to model clothes that fit their needs. The annual show will take place on Saturday, September 10, at Studio615, and will feature models from local designers, a pop-up boutique, cocktails and bites and an after party.

“An adaptive garment is something that has been modified so that a person with a particular disability can wear the garment and/or use the garment in a completely independent manner,” explains Searcy. There are magnetic tabs that can be placed behind buttons without changing the appearance of the garment. No one looking at it would know it was a magnet, but for someone with fine motor skills, the change would make it easier to put on and take off clothes. There may be hidden loops that a person uses to adjust their pants when sitting down. A shirt may have a strategically placed zipper that creates easy access to the port.

“It’s kind of like a good fashion show,” Searcy says. “Nobody knows what’s behind the curtain, because everything that comes out is beautiful. But really, the bottom line is that it puts us all on an equal footing and gives us the value we deserve as human beings.”

Chelsea Nitschke volunteered at the first Fashion for All Bodies show, helping behind the scenes. Nietzsche’s She’s a quadriplegic after a car accident in 2011, but that didn’t stop Cersei from convincing her to film the show the following year.

“I had never modeled before,” Nitschke said. Scene. “I didn’t know what to do, but I went with him.” When Nitschke stepped down the runway for the first time, the shoulder of her dress slipped up around her neck. “When I took it off my shoulder, I did a little snap. I didn’t know it was in me!”

Some models on the runways of fashion for all bodies have physical disabilities, while others do not. Searcy opens himself up to someone who doesn’t see himself reflected in mainstream fashion. People who wear plus sizes, people on the autism spectrum, queer people, people with anxiety – the philosophy recognizes that our bodies are often sites and carriers of danger. Using the language of fashion helps us to heal.

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Chelsey Nitschke wears rank and sugar.

“It was very encouraging,” Nitschke said of her first walk on the runway. You just feel it yourself. … There was pressure to get there, and I was really nervous at first. But to the credit of all the people around him, the pictures they took – once I saw the pictures I was like, ‘Oh dang! I thought it was good!’ ” She has modeled in every show since, and will be on the runway this weekend.

This year, five local designers and brands are working models on clothes: Article X, Lady of the Lake, Laura Citron, Any Old Iron’s Andrew Klasse, and Dahlia, featuring SRC Design. This year, Unconcealed – an adaptable clothing brand from London – will also have pieces in the show. The designers learn a lot in the process of how to add to their clothes. There are many practical reasons why fashion is for every body, but it all stems from years ago when Cersei was ready to challenge her anti-fashion stance.

“I am disabled [I’ve] It was a real struggle to be seen and heard and imagined,” says Searcy. “I want you to see me as a fun, useful person in society. … And I think a lot of people with disabilities want the same thing. A lot of people at 60, the same thing. People who are 5X size want the same thing. LGBTQ people. … We want to be valued. And we want to be valued in a beautiful way. And that’s what we do.


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