Fashion is getting a new definition of the word “beauty.” A woman with four amputated limbs has now graced the runway of the New York Fashion Week, modeling the designs of Carrie Hammer. At age 28, Karen Crespo contracted a severe case of bacterial meningitis that resulted in doctors having to amputate. Crespo had always had an interest in fashion but, having never seen people with disabilities in the fashion spotlight, she never found an opportunity to get involved.
However, after seeing a model in a wheelchair in a Carrie Hammer show, she reached out. When Hammer received the e-mail from Crespo, she instantly invited her to participate in her “Role Models, Not Runway Models” fashion show for the NYC Fashion Week. Crespo accepted the invitation and became the first person with quadruple amputations on the runway, modeling professional women’s wear for Hammer’s line.
By being up on the catwalk and reclaiming her self-confidence, Crespo and the many women with disabilities that are sure to follow are showing the world that fashion is not only for the temporarily able-bodied. In fact, the societal standard of beauty is being re-defined and changed by the recent emergence of models with disabilities. Fashion is for everyone, regardless of ability, and beauty has many manifestations.