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How Lila Moss Hack brought diabetes to the track


The Fendace show, held at the end of Milan Fashion Week in September, made the news for a number of reasons: Fendi designers Kim Jones and Silvia Fendi created their version of Versace, and Donatella Versace had made her Fendi; it was the first time that two brands from different luxury groups had been released into each other’s archives; and the runway was teeming with former models including Kristin McMenamy, Naomi Campbell, Amber Valletta, Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid.

Still, the most notable aspect of the show was perhaps one of the smaller ones: a tubeless white pump visible on the upper left leg of Lila Grace Moss Hack, a 19-year-old model who strutted on the runway in a gold-and-white Fendi x Versace swimsuit, cut high on the thigh, and a Greek-trimmed jacket.

An Omnipod insulin pump used to treat type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disease that can be diagnosed at any age – my daughter was diagnosed when she was 8 – it was impossible to miss. Her appearance on the runway, highlighting an often invisible condition, was another step in fashion‘s definition of inclusivity.

While the last full fashion season, earlier this fall, was perhaps the most inclusive in terms of race, age, height and gender, according to The Fashion Spot, a trend forecasting site, models with disabilities remain under-represented and under-exposed.

Laura Winson is the Director of Zebedee Management, a modeling agency founded in 2017 to represent disabled and visually different models. “Before Zebedee, disability was not included in the diversity debate,” she said. “Only 0.02% of people featured in fashion advertising had a disability. “

The image of Ms. Moss Hack with her splinter pump quickly circulated within the T1D community – according to JDRF, an organization that funds T1D research, there are an estimated 1.6 million Americans who have it. – and triggered a flurry of support messages. Melany Gray posted on Ms. Moss Hack’s Instagram feed: “The whole T1D community salutes you! Angie Martin wrote: “I love showing your photo to my 11 year old daughter T1D.” And Eliska Pole simply posted, “Thank you for wearing your insulin pump so proudly.”

Although Ms Moss Hack declined to comment on her decision to go public with her pump, she was the only model on the Fendace show to wear a revealing swimsuit, and given the scrutiny of any model on a catwalk, it is hard to believe the choice was an accident.

This is especially true when a trawl through more than 30 magazine covers, reports and runway shots featuring Ms. Moss Hack as well as two other models, Stephanie Bambi Northwood-Blyth and Grace Clover, who also have the T1D and wear insulin pumps, did not disclose any pump or other glucose monitoring device. Whether they were removed, hidden or airbrushed was not clear, but it is also undeniable that they had been erased.

Ms Northwood-Blyth, a 30-year-old Australian model, walked the runway for Balenciaga and Chanel and was the face of Calvin Klein CK One perfume. A T1D advocate who has been modeling since the age of 14 and was diagnosed with T1D at age 12, she said although she has found support in the industry, she has sometimes chosen to take her glucose meter off. at work.

“It was always my choice because there are days when I want to talk about diabetes, but there are days when I would take it off or I don’t have that one-line explanation ready to go,” Ms. Northwood-Blyth mentioned.

Ms Clover, 19, was diagnosed with T1D at 14, two years before she started modeling and walked the runway for Dior, JW Anderson, Prada, Ferragamo and Fendi, unsure if she had ever been asked to retire his pump on the board.

“I feel like I have been on one occasion, but that’s because I asked if that was going to be a problem, as it would be visible in the look,” she said, adding : “I totally understand that. It can be photoshopped later.

Like the pump worn by Ms. Moss Hack, constant blood glucose meters (CGMs) or blood glucose monitors (BGMs) help reduce the need for finger pricks or insulin injections and allow for better blood sugar regulation, especially for people with T1D.

As visual indicators of T1D, these devices open lines of communication and improve people’s understanding of T1D.

“Seeing Lila wearing her court shoe reminded me that I had stumbled upon the practical need to communicate with people, instead of sharing my experience more openly,” said Ms. Clover, who now wears her CGM for all of her design work. modelization.

“I hope others can see Grace as a model and feel reassured that they too can achieve whatever they set their minds on,” said Levi Asher, associate director of development at IMG Models.

For Irish author and disability activist Sinead Burke, who suffers from achondroplasia, a genetic condition which is the most common form of dwarfism, seeing disabled models on the catwalks is important because, she said, ” fashion touches everyone because we all have to wear clothes, it’s almost universal.

That Ms Moss Hack may not have realized that wearing her insulin pump visible on the trail “would be a big deal,” Ms Burke said, “is, in and of itself, a success.”



Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes