Fashion Magazine

8 Brave Models Who Are Changing the Fashion Industry

The fashion world has become a lot more inclusive in recent years, but some people say it still has a long way to go. Nowadays, more and more models with different conditions, body shapes, and backgrounds are represented on the runways and covers of magazines. The gorgeous women in our article decided to pave their own way in the industry, making the world of fashion a bit more inclusive, one person at a time.

Mara Martin

Mara Martin made headlines when, during a 2018 Sports Illustrated fashion show, she walked on the runway breastfeeding her baby daughter. “I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!” the model later said about the event.

Lyn Slater

The 69-year-old college professor became an “accidental icon” a few years ago when she decided to pursue her interest in fashion by creating a blog. Some photographers mistook her as part of New York Fashion Week, and Slater quickly became famous. She was signed with Elite models, appeared on the cover of famous magazines, and walked on a few runways too, all while in her sixties. “I am just an ordinary person who reinvented myself at age 61,” is how the model describes herself.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: Model Lyn Slater walks the runway for Just In Case fashion show at The Gallery at The Dream Downtown Hotel on September 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Yuchen Liao/Getty Images)

Lauren Wasser

Lauren Wasser was 24 years old when both of her legs were affected by toxic shock syndrome and had to be amputated. Wasser grew up with 2 model parents, and up until her illness, she had also been following in their footsteps. After a period of depression and trying to come to terms with her new body, the model decided that she’d continue her career and try to make it more inclusive. Since then, Wasser has walked countless catwalks with her golden prosthetic legs.

2HPYRBE Milan, Italy. 24th Feb, 2022. Milan Fashion Week, Fall Winter 2022 2023 Milan, Women’s Fashion Fall Winter 2022 2023 Annakiki Pictured Fashion Show: Lauren Wasser -without legs- Credit: Independent Photo Agency/Alamy Live News

Shahad Salman

Inspired by the success of Winnie Harlow, another supermodel with vitiligo, the 25-year-old Shahad Salman started pursuing a career in the same field a few years ago. “Challenging stereotypes is very important,” Salman said about her role in the industry, “and having self-confidence too. That’s one of my strongest features. Knowing that I can be a source of inspiration for people has helped me a lot.”

Hari Nef

Hari Nef was the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of a famous British fashion magazine. She had her runway debut in 2015 and was signed to IMG, also making her the first transgender model in the agency. In addition to her modeling career, Nef is also a writer and actress and has appeared in several acclaimed series, including Transparent and You.

Pictured: Hari Nef Mandatory Credit ?? Jack Shea/Starshots/Broadimage 2015 amfAR Inspiration Gala New York 6/16/15, New York, New York, United States of America Broadimage Newswire Los Angeles

Nyome Nicholas-Williams

Nyome Nicholas-Williams is a plus-sized model and body positivity activist who also successfully campaigned to change Instagram’s community guidelines. Besides her work in the beauty industry, the British model is also using her fame for other good causes, like being an ambassador for a non-profit dedicated to ending homelessness.

Kate Grant

24-year-old Kate Grant became the first model with Down syndrome to sign with a modeling agency in Northern Ireland last year. Grant’s successful career in the industry began when she won a pageant at 19. Since then, she has walked at London Fashion Week and become an activist for a more inclusive fashion world. “I use my platform to raise awareness for the inclusion of people with a disability or ability. I use my voice for people who can’t have a voice.”

Jillian Mercado

Jillian Mercado suffers from muscular dystrophy and is a wheelchair user, but her conditions never stopped her from pursuing her career goals and fighting for representation. After appearing on the cover of several fashion magazines and using her social media presence to spread awareness about disabilities, Mercado also made her runway debut at New York Fashion Week.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 09: Jillian Mercado appears on the runway for The Blonds during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery I at Spring Studios on February 09, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

Do you think the fashion world has become a lot more inclusive, or is there still a long way to go? How could it still be improved upon?