Denver Fashion Week Praises Individuality at All-Inclusive Night

DFW by Weston Mosburg

One of Denver Fashion Week (DFW)’s most cherished nights, All-Inclusive, featured four lines of accessible clothing. Featuring collections from everyBODY apparel, DEFY Wear, Quána Madison, and No Limbits the audience left the runway with higher spirits than when they first arrived. 

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Partnered with Guided by Humanity for the second year in a row, the energy for this special night was alive with celebration for those with disabilities in Denver’s community.

The night was also joined by BREWABILITY, an unscripted documentary series following two of their staff, as they walked the runway in No Limbits. BREWABILITY exists to show authentic life as disabled adults while navigating life’s challenges and to be a testament to the life that’s possible when everyone is invited to the table. 

READ: Denver Fashion Week Opens With Sustainability Night

Quána Madison

Designer, model, artist and activist, Quána Madison started her journey with DFW as a volunteer, then a model and now an official runway designer. As an artist, Madison expresses herself through abstract expressionist painting — as seen in her presented collection. Sustainable fashion is a huge influence for Madison —  she creates directly on textiles sourced from thrift stores or commissions people’s current clothing to avoid creating new materials and items. The brand’s goal is to convey that everyone is already a masterpiece, just as they are — wearing the art is a way to exclaim the truth. 

Madison cited the power of fashion and psychology as a huge influence on this collection as well. Fashion can be empowering, and being able to express oneself through clothing is something that all people deserve access to. She hopes the audience feels inspired to respond to the different art on the clothing, a catalyst to conversation and open to how art impacts us.

Through her clothes, she wants people to feel nourished through seeing living, walking art. 

As models walked down the runway in their wearable art, there was instant high energy. Ensembles were emboldened with strong phrases like, “We were always coming back” and “Your queerness is beautiful.” Most looks were paired with bold, powerful makeup, in the form of colorful “masks” around the eyes, but creative clown makeup was also seen on the runway. 

Madison wanted the bright eye makeup to say we won’t hide behind a mask or our clothing, we are proud to be who we are, and we want you to notice it. Each hand painted piece included several pantsuits, matching shoes and bags. Several looks were paired with fishnet stockings. 

The line was a testament to bold artistry, and giving all people — including the disabled community — the freedom to express themselves through clothing.

DEFY Wear

Owner and designer of DEFY Wear, Kimberly Wren, is a force to be reckoned with. Passionate, strong, persevering and overwhelmingly kind, Wren’s love for her community and impact was evident in every look of the collection. Wren created her own line after receiving an early-onset Parkinson’s Disease in 2011. She shared that the process has been slow and steady, but had a lot of forward movement since December in receiving a patent for her work and then being selected to show at DFW. 

The “Fabulous & Fierce” collection was created to help anyone with a disability get dressed by themselves. Undergarments were a significant piece of the show, as Wren shared it was a huge priority in designing to make attractive and accessible intimates. Wren’s love for her community was evident, sharing that her overall collection was about helping people find freedom in their lives. 

The music was a rallying cry for self love and acceptance — models walked the runway confidently and purposefully. The show opened with red underwear and a black bra, with the simple DEFY logo stitched in the middle. The collection’s colors were red, black, and cheetah print to curate a truly sexy collection. Intimates varied in shape from mid-waist, briefs, micro shorts, and high waisted —  each had the signature and newly patented grips and finger pulls on the waistband. 

Jewelry and makeup were kept simple, allowing the clothes to be the main focus. Wren shared that accessible undergarments can be an incredibly positive change for the mental health struggle that can accompany a diagnosis like Parkinson’s. The impact of the clothing was the true star of the runway.

No Limbits

In No Limbits first DFW show, Director of Product Development, Anna Peshock, hoped that the audience would understand that clothing for the disabled community isn’t just a “noble cause,” it’s a category of clothing just like men’s and women’s, plus sized, children — it’s needed and wanted. 

Peshock said that fashion is something that we participate in every day as an expression of self and it is dehumanizing when that choice is not available to someone. When clothing is designed for people with disabilities in mind, it’s a better design for everybody. She went on to expand that we all experience disability at some point in our life — whether it be a broken ankle, an autoimmune disease, a sprained wrist, a stroke, arthritis, or something you are born with, it’s a universal equalizer. This line exists to fight back against the negative stereotypes and word association with disability because disabilities are human. And every human deserves the dignity to dress in a way that reflects who they are.

The No Limbits line was crafted to not make a huge statementbut to create quality, comfortable, easy clothing for everyday staples, Peshock shared. Casual wear — like jeans and a jacket to wear to a brewery — are things that the line prioritized for people with disabilities to feel just like everyone else. This was taken into account from testimonies Peshock gathered from the community sharing that they didn’t want to stand out or feel ostracized in the ‘medical’ like clothing normally available to them. 

This line gives people with disabilities a sigh of relief to be casual, comfortable, and everyday clothing options.

The highlight of the collection was empowering phrases on shirts and jackets that said, “You Matter,” “Disability is not a bad word,” “Be kind to yourself,” “Accessibility is not optional,” “Not all disabilities are visible,” “Unlimited possibilities,” and “More than your inspo.” The line contained character, through tie dye and color paired with the inspirational phrases. Most tops were paired with casual jeans and joggers, and shirts had easy and satisfying definition and shape to them. 

The theme of the collection down the runway? Don’t be shy.

Guided by Humanity + everyBODY apparel

everyBODY apparel was founded by Guided by Humanity’s CEO Mary Sims, an avid advocate for the disability community since 2004. Kate Nelson, DFW’s first ever model to use a wheelchair on the runway, shared that each look created for everyBODY has several adaptive features. Each model on the runway collaborated with the designer to create a piece that fit their individual needs. A special highlight of the collection was the number 19, a nod to the historical ‘gang of 19,’ where 19 people in wheelchairs in Denver protested paying taxes for inaccessible things and services in 1978. One design even featured 19 in braille.

Nelson went on to share that people with disabilities are people who also want a variety of fashion options. 

“We want to look cool,” she said. “It’s a life need to dress in a way that represents you. Disabled people shouldn’t have to be dressed in medical-looking clothing because it’s all that’s available.”

As we’ve come to expect with Guided by Humanity, the runway was filled with beautiful high energy, audience interaction, dancing, and uplifting music. This year’s line included a custom print with various disabled people in black and white. The most present colors included a cohesive pastel blue, tan, white, neon green, and white — though a few looks featured a black and red look. Big pocket details were also placed on the designs, with zippered vests, jackets, and pants, to empower every person who wears them the ability to get dressed easily.

Sheer fabrics, softer fabrics, and quilted sleeves were also seen on the runway. A standout piece from the first look to open the show featured a green and blue jacket, with a sheer heart cut out on the back with the word “INCLUSION” printed on the upper backbeautifully concluding the show.

All photos by Weston Mosburg

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