Written by Michelle Kerstein

After noticing a gap in the apparel industry for people with disabilities, students at the Wilson College of Textiles have started a chapter of the Runway of Dreams Foundation (RODF) at NC State. The Runway of Dreams Foundation is a nonprofit working towards inclusivity, acceptance and opportunity in the fashion industry for people with disabilities.

This mission has inspired Kelly Wallace, Sydney Parker and Abby Levinson to spread awareness about accommodation needs and influence others to think inclusively. Kelly Wallace, a senior in Fashion and Textile Design (FTD) and co-president, learned about RODF after visiting their headquarters in New York City and meeting with the CEO and Founder Mindy Scheier.

“With one in five Americans having a physical disability, there are very few fashion companies that offer ready-to-wear adaptive clothing,” said Wallace.“Hearing her [Mindy Scheier’s] story and learning where her passion began made me even more excited to bring it back home to NC State.”

With the help of the Runway of Dreams Foundation HQ and other chapters across the United States, Kelly established NC State’s RODF chapter and is excited about its potential. She answered a few questions about the future of the club and adaptive fashion.

Why is starting a chapter of ROD at NC State important?

“Starting a chapter of Runway of Dreams is vital for the NC State community. The club takes a new perspective on the idea of collaborating to create beneficial alterations to everyday situations that can simply make daily life tasks less of an obstacle for people that have a disability. The RODF empowers creative individuals and designers of all types to collaborate in research and development [of] adapted products that will better suit someone living with special needs. RODF provides a supportive platform where members can beneficially observe and experiment with ideas [of] what it is like for someone to live with a disability. ”

What is the goal of NC State’s RODF chapter?

“The goal for our chapter is to bring about awareness and change within the industry. The Wilson College of Textiles is a place of innovation that is seen throughout the industry and it only makes sense that we would be leading this change within the industry as well.”

How can current students get involved?

“Students can get involved by becoming a member! We have open membership, so there isn’t one time of the year when people can join. We also do not require dues. Students with any major from fashion design, to marketing/business, to engineering. We have monthly meetings for members to be able to stay informed and up to date.”

How can others learn more about adaptive fashion?

“A great way to learn more about what’s happening in the industry is to follow the Runway of Dreams Foundation on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.”

After Kelly graduates in the spring, Sydney Parker, a junior in FTD, and Abby Levinson, a junior in Fashion and Textile Management, will be taking over to support Runway of Dreams’ mission of empowerment and advocacy.