GOSH!ABOUT: Runway Of Dreams Gala And Fashion Show

Celebrating Inclusion in the Fashion Industry And Honouring First Ever Mainstream Adaptive Clothing Collaboration With Tommy Hilfiger

Editor in chief: Najaam Lee
Contributing Location Writer: Mitchell Acks
Photo credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Runway of Dreams

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This event truly touched my heart and the expression of love, enthusiasm and joy shared by all who attended was truly remarkable.

On Thursday, June 10, 2016, the Runway of Dreams held its first annual gala and fashion show to honour innovators, pioneers and change-makers working to make fashion inclusive for people with all abilities.This event included a beautiful cocktail reception with an award ceremony and the Runway Of Dreams Fashion Show which celebrated the organization’s recent collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, encouraging diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry. The dresscode was all denim, showcasing the many diverse styles of all attendees.

Master of Ceremonies was former NFL Player, Kevin Reilly, who did a splendid job of engaging the audience. He showed us how he tied his tie with using one hand, which was no easy task. Kevin Reilly is a Motivational Speaker. His career as Captain of Special Teams for the Philadelphia Eagles, was cut short due to a rare scar tissue tumor. To halt the spread of cancer, his left arm and part of his left shoulder were amputated. He has led a full life being a Senior Executive for XEROX Corporation over 30 years, a radio host on the Philadelphia Eagles Broadcast. Kevin serves on various non-profit boards including Easter Seals and the Walter Reed National Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Mindy Scheier, founder and CEO of Runway of Dreams, gave an inspiring welcome. Many were touched by her story about Oliver, her son, whose born with Rigid Spine Muscular Dystrophy.

Runway Of Dreams Inaugural Gala And Fashion Show

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 09: Founder and CEO of Runway of Dreams Mindy Scheier attends the Runway of Dreams Inaugural Gala and fashion show at Capitale on June 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Runway of Dreams)

“The Gala was a special opportunity to honour the many incredible partners and people within our community who share our mission in making fashion accessible to people of all abilities. Millions of people live with a disability, and being able to dress and wear the clothing they want is essential for confidence and self-worth. Working with Tommy Hilfiger on this collaboration has been an incredible honor and puts us one step closer to achieving our goal.” said Scheier.

The gala, which took place at the Capitale in Manhattan, NYC, began with a VIP cocktail hour sponsored by AlixPartners, featured speakers and honourees from the fashion industry and uniquely-abled community who share and support the Runway of Dreams mission. Gary Sheinbaum received the Pioneer of Change Award; John Kemp, president and CEO of The Viscardi Center, received the Inspirational Achievement Award; and Maura Horton, CEO of MagnaReady, received the Innovation Award. Emmanuel “Manny” Chirico, chairman and CEO of PVH Corp., the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger, served as Event Chair. The gala also included remarks from Nadine Vogel, CEO of Springboard Consulting, who discussed the untapped business potential and opportunity for brands and retailers to reach, engage and impact the diverse and undeserved disabled consumer.

Mary Scheier was first introduced to Tommy Hilfiger in January 2015 through Global Brands Group, the licensee of the Tommy Hilfiger brand for children’s apparel for the United States and Canada.. When she brought the concept to Gary Sheinbaum, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger, The Americas, he was immediately on board and worked closely with Mindy to make this groundbreaking collaboration a reality. One of the evening’s honourees, Gary Sheinbaum was recognized for his works in support of the disabled community and the Runway of Dreams mission.

Statement from Hilfiger  “This collection embodies the ideals this brand was founded on. Through this collaboration we’ve had the opportunity to share the inclusive, optimistic spirit of the brand and offer thoughtfully designed products to differently-abled customers. We are so proud to consistently take a leadership role in our industry to make fashion truly inclusive for everyone.”

Runway of Dreams is currently collaborating with Tommy Hilfiger on a fall and holiday children’s collections this year, with plans to expand to an adult line. The goal of Runway of Dreams is to work with multiple brands and retailers, bringing fashion to people of all abilities, backgrounds and price points.

Following the awards ceremony  was the runway show featuring 21 models of various ages and abilities, including Jillian Mercado and Rebekah Marine. The models previewed future clothing collaborations from Runway of Dreams and shared their own personal stories and experiences with clothing in a video, playing in conjunction with the show.

Closing out this amazing evening was the fundraiser, with proceeds going towards efforts of Runway Of Dreams to create future partnerships with other brands and retailers in the fashion industry, innovating adaptive clothing through wearable technology, supporting employment opportunities for people of all abilities, plus organize wardrobe grants and clothing donations.

This event would not be possible without the strong support of key brands and members of the fashion industry, including PVH, Tommy Hilfiger, Global Brands Group, Macy’s Inc., Movado Group Inc. and Winner Way Industrial Limited, among others.


About Runway of Dreams

Runway of Dreams is an organization working with the fashion industry to adapt mainstream clothing for the disabled community. By applying adaptive design and wearable technology to existing brand-name collections, Runway of Dreams is making fashion a reality for millions of people who live with a disability. In February 2016, Runway of Dreams collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger to create and sell an adaptive version of the brand’s children’s line, bringing mainstream fashion to the disabled community for the first time.

Mindy Scheier, a veteran in the fashion industry for over 20 years, founded the Runway Of Dreams. The concept was developed due to her son, Oliver, who was born with Rigid Spine Muscular Dystrophy, that had clothing challenges due to muscle weakness and his inability to dress himself.
She was a key member of the design team for the INC collection, as well as styling Saks Fifth Ave in NYC. Mindy started a fashion design school for kids, called Future Fashionistas.

To support or get more information about the Runway of Dreams, please visit www.runwayofdreams.org




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