Inclusive role models at fashion fund-raiser

Ms Pauline Yap, 24, who has Down syndrome, modelling an outfit at the Fashion For A Social Cause show.
Ms Pauline Yap, 24, who has Down syndrome, modelling an outfit at the Fashion For A Social Cause show.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Aniq Hazim, a student at Pathlight School, loves to draw and perform for others as a member of the school choir.

Yesterday, the 11-year- old, who has autism, strutted down the runway with about 50 other models at a fashion show at *Scape.

Fashion For A Social Cause featured clothes and accessories by 18 local designers and is the third edition of an inclusive fashion show by social initiative Singapore Fashion Runway (SFR) and *Scape.

"Taking part in such a large-scale event has boosted his confidence and self-esteem," said Aniq's mother, 35-year-old Siti Zuraily Zainal, who runs an online business selling health and beauty products. "In the school choir, the audience was mostly just people we know, but now he knows he is capable of doing so much more."

Ms Eileen Yap, 42, founder of local fashion label Noel Caleb, said that she started SFR in 2015 to promote inclusion in the industry, and also extend its social impact.

"Fashion is always seen as (an industry where you need to be) very perfect... but in the real world, humans are not perfect."

The models included 30 people who are chronically ill or who have disabilities or special needs. Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng, the guest of honour, also took part in the show, where selected items went on sale.

Funds raised will go towards Fashion For A Social Cause, a programme by SFR to empower marginalised people through fashion and design.

The show also aims to be a talent discovery and mentoring platform.

Organisers had discovered that breast cancer survivor Lily Chan, 54, who took part in a fashion show last year, has an aptitude for sewing. She led a team of about 20 fellow cancer survivors in assembling the outfits for yesterday's event. "When I saw a piece of clothing that I had sewn on display for the first time, I felt so proud," said Ms Chan.

SFR will organise another fashion show in November. A campaign has also been set up, where close to $2,000 has been raised for programmes under Fashion For A Social Cause.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 13, 2017, with the headline 'Inclusive role models at fashion fund-raiser'. Print Edition | Subscribe