5 Women breaking style taboos at Fashion Week

Anna Walker 

As another Fashion Week dawns, we take a look at five models who are breaking the style mould. 

Rebekah Marine

Rebekah Marine
Image via Rebekah Marine

28-year-old Rebekah Marine hasn’t let living without a forearm get in the way of her dream.

Since she was a little girl, New Jersey born Marine was told she would never find work as a model. When her i-limb prosthetic was fitted four years ago however, she realised that she could become a spokeswoman for disabled women just like her.

Now booked for the FTL Moda show at New York Fashion Week, Marine has her sights set for the top. “Above all, I hope to land on the cover of Vogue one day—that’s my personal goal. And I won’t stop until I get there.”


Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart Downs Syndrome model
Image via Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart has Down’s Syndrome and was booked to walk at New York Fashion Week after her mother launched a social media campaign to get her recognised as a model.

Stuart will only be the second model with Down’s Syndrome to walk at Fashion Week. She follows in the footsteps of actress Jamie Brewer who hit the catwalk back in February.

The 18-year-old from Brisbane has now amassed over 401,000 fans on Facebook and 75,000 Instagram followers, with her popularity only set to grow after her Fashion Week debut. 


Winnie Harlow

Winnie Harlow
Image via Desigual

First discovered on reality TV show America’s Next Top Model, Winnie Harlow hit the headlines as a self-professed “vitiligo spokesmodel”.

Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition that causes portions of the skin to lose its pigmet—the same condition that caused Michael Jackson’s skin change.

Harlow delivered a TED Talk in 2014 entitled My Story is Painted on My Body. In it she discussed her belief that there is “beauty in everything”.


Hari Nef

Hari Nef
Image via Dazed Digital

“Being a woman is an option, being trans is an option, and they’re options that appeal to me. We need to listen to people, not labels.”

Last season, Hari Nef’s walks during New York Fashion Week were the talk of the season. Her appearance in the Selfridge’s Agender campaign sealed her position as a modern icon.

As the first transgender woman signed by IMG, she has been hailed as a trailblazer. However, Nef is always conscious that being trans doesn’t become her defining characteristic. After all, “gender is whatever”.


Daphne Selfe

Daphne Self
Image via Before It's News

The world’s oldest supermodel, Daphne Selfe, has fronted campaigns for And Other Stories and Vans this year. Will she also be making an appearance at fashion week?

The 86-year-old model began her career in 1949. Speaking to Reader’s Digest, Selfe professed that if she ruled the world, there would be more advertising featuring the elderly.

“People become invisible as they grow older, and advertising, with its focus on youth, has a lot to answer for.”