Labels are for clothes, not people, is the message River Island are championing for their new fashion campaign, with the help of six young models with disabilities.
Among them is six-year-old Cora Bishop, from Wrexham, Wales, who took part in the River Island childrenswear campaign along with with Miley Major, Lois Groom, Gabriel Sohotha, Teddy Short and Mia Wenham.
You can watch the ground-breakingly cute campaign below:
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Cora, who was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome at birth, had the time of her life on the shoot, her mother Sheryl Bishop told Wales Online.
When Cora was born, her mum had been worried about what the future might bring for her first child.
Yet the ‘popular’ primary school pupil was recently selected to model children’s clothing as part of River Island‘s vibrant ‘Labels Are For Clothes‘ campaign – alongside five other children aged between three and 10.
The mother-of-two said:
Cora absolutely loved it, she was in her element being the centre of attention and making everyone laugh. She loves all the big bows and girly things.
They took her to the set where they film the video and she just ran on and started playing with the balloons – they didn’t need to give her any direction.
I can’t even explain how proud everyone is of her and it’s given her faith she can achieve what she wants to achieve.
Cora, like her fellow child models, was selected by River Island after being taken on by Zebedee Management, a company which works with people with disabilities.
Gabriel Sohota, 4, pictured above, also has Down’s Syndrome.
Just like Cora, it’s not stopped him acing the photoshoot for the high street fashion chain.
Zebedee champions people like 10-year-old Lois Groom, from Ware, Hertfordshire, who was born with 18q deletion syndrome.
The incredibly rare condition affects one in 40,000 children and means Lois was born deaf, hyper-mobile while also having learning difficulties and delayed speech.
Teddy Short, who’s just five-years-old, has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and brought his walking aid along to the photoshoot.
Zoe Proctor, co-Director of Zebedee Models, told UNILAD:
We’re thrilled River Island have included our Zebedee models in their campaign, it’s encouraging to see big high street brands representing disability diversity so genuinely in their advertising.
Our hope is our models have a fair shot of getting work alongside other ‘mainstream’ models so we see a balanced cross section of society and not a one off act of tokenism.
Our models are talented, beautiful and strong individuals who deserve to work with the top clients going and it’s our mission to make this happen not just once but on a long-term basis.
Three-year-old Mia Wenham also has cerebral palsy and was selected to participate in the short video campaign, which highlights how important diversity is in fashion.
As part of its campaign the River Island range will also work with anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label, with £3 from each sale going to support the group’s work.
Last, but by no means least, is Miley Major, four, who has eyesight issues.
Liam Hackett, CEO of Ditch the Label told UNILAD:
We believe in a world that is fair, equal and free from all types of bullying. It’s a real pleasure to work with a brand who share our vision and to be able to work together to take a stand against stereotypes and bullying.
The donations from River Island’s ‘Labels Are For Clothes‘ campaign will help fund crucial anti-bullying support for young people in the UK and US, helping people to overcome the harmful and devastating impacts of bullying.
After all, no one should ever be measured by a so-called disability:
River Island are doing all they can to combat the one-dimensional representation of society the fashion world so often presents us.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.