For many years now, the brand has been releasing catalogues that are rather distinctive in their imagery. By casting models with disabilities, Nordstrom is taking the idea of diversity further than age, race or body type. The new summer catalogue (which also happens to be an anniversary issue) is not an exception. It features a wheelchair-bound fashion blogger modelling boots and a male model with a prosthetic leg wearing Nike running shoes. 26-year-old violet-haired Jillian Mercado first caught media’s attention earlier this year, when she appeared in Diesel’s spring ads.
This, however, is not the first time world sees models with disabilities being invited for their shoots. Some might call it a ‘tradition’that began more than 20 years ago, in 1992. Meg O’Connell of Global Disability Inclusion named Nordstrom ‘a leader in this space’ and pointed out that the company has been ‘a long-standing supporter of disability inclusion not only in their advertising but also in employment and accessibility in their stores.’
Nordstrom spokeswoman Tara Darrow explained that serving to ‘diverse customers’ is more about making the images of their ads look more relatable rather than trying to raise an issue. ‘We don’t promote it or go out and talk about it. We just think they look great’ she said.
Even though what Nordstrom has been doing for years may have not gained the attention it deserved, some influential fashion brands are seem to be picking up on this initiative. For instance, H&M and Diesel were reported to have used disabled models in their recent campaigns too.