Junior Designers
Devin Norans & Pooj Malla 
Tell us about your experience:
Since we can no longer can meet up with our models, due to COVID-19, my experience so far has been challenging. Via Zoom communication, I got to understand my model's disability more, what they need, and how I can design a concept to help with accessibility. During the virtual meet and greet, we showed each other pieces from our personal closets to get an idea of what my model likes, what my model doesn’t like, and which clothing could be functional for everyday. After discovering the setting of where the model would wear the garments, I immediately came up with my sketches and concepts. 
Devin Norans
Tell us about your experience:
Group work can be challenging in times like this when we are required to stay home, but a little enthusiasm goes a long way. Working with Alex was very interesting and unique. Due to COVID-19, my partner and I weren’t able to meet him in person. After accepting our new normal, we met virtually. Alex was very flexible with us about meeting us virtually and helped to answer all the questions regarding the look he wanted. It was challenging for all three of us to do something virtually which normally would require us to meet in person. At the end of the day, group work is all about being flexible and supportive with each other and moving forward regardless of the situation. We made it possible and I am so grateful to experience this with Alex and Devin. Thank you for your cooperation.
Pooj Malla
Meet the Model:
Alex Madrid
Tell us about your experience:

Alex was born in the Philippines and moved to San Francisco in 1996 without knowing any English. He went to middle school and high school in SF and attended college at UC Berkeley. He majored in International Corporate Management and Disability. Three years ago, he had started to work for a non-profit organization, “Center for Independence in San Mateo” where he still works today. They help people with disability and senior adults to help aid remain independent, such as assistance with applying for public benefits such as unemployment and public housing. Alex is full of high spirits and empowers those around him. Alex had participated in modeling for Runway the past two years. He believes that representation in the fashion industry is so low. At a young age, he was interested in modeling. However, 10-15 years ago it was nearly impossible to see models with disability.

“Even if you have a disability, you can do a lot of things. It was a dream to be approached by your school to model. This was a dream come true.”
“Working with the designers, it was very interesting when they asked me what I need and what I want and explaining to them was very eye-opening to me. I couldn’t do a zipper or a button, things like that. I never thought explaining it, or how to explain to people that never had experience with people with disability. I learned a lot from them and hope they learned from me”.

“There can be a design that everyone can wear, with or without disability”. Alex even suggested that there be a “meet-and-greet” at the fashion show with the disability models, where people can touch and feel the clothes to inspire everyone to wear the same designs. I asked Alex how he felt about representation in the fashion industry. “Right now, representation is very low. Modeling is very limited, right now models that are 5’11 are too short, must be a size 0, skinny, and that’s not me. I’m 4’11, Asian, and have a disability. I think we are going in the right direction, but representation is still low.” Alex's story was incredibly inspiring. His story is one to be told and shared with all communities, regardless of ability, ethnicity, size, or age.