Aussie Model With Down Syndrome Launches Own Label At NYFW

Down syndrome model launches label
James Graham


Feb 16, 2017

Brisbane-born model Madeline Stuart, who has Down syndrome, has launched her own fashion label at New York Fashion Week.

A regular on the catwalk since 2015, Madeline is part of a new generation changing perceptions about people with Down syndrome, and she hopes to do the same with her new label, 21 Reasons Why.

The collection’s name is a nod to Stuart turning 21 this year and the extra copy of chromosome 21 that is characteristic of Down syndrome.

Wearing blue patterned leggings, the model-come-designer kicked off the show on the Art Hearts Fashion runway, where she was joined by several other international designers who were showcasing their new collections.

As her show came to an end, she held hands with two models and waved enthusiastically at the audience, clearly overwhelmed at the support for her line.

“So proud to have launched my clothing label tonight @artheartsfashion #21ReasonsWhy.com ,” Madeline writes on her Instagram account to her 131,000 followers.

“It really does represent who she is,” says Roseanne Stuart, Madeline’s mother, manager and design collaborator about the label that will be sold exclusively online.

The stunning collection, described as “mirroring her own daily style”, is a contemporary take on trendy day-wear with short flared skirts, crop tops and an array of t-shirts.

Speaking with Fairfax Media in 2015, Roseanne said her inspiring daughter had struggled with her weight most of her life but went on a healthy eating kick and lost almost 20 kilograms.

After walking in two other shows in New York, Madeline is heading to Paris and then Los Angeles and other US cities before returning home to Australia in late April.

“She’s worked hard for it. People with Down syndrome can do anything,” adds a proud Roseanne.

“I think it is time people realised that people with Down syndrome can be sexy and beautiful.”


By James Graham


With over 20 years as a journalist and TV producer, James Graham has a wealth of experience covering the full media spectrum. James has a formidable reputation as a talented media veteran and worked as a reporter, script writer and as the producer of the TV documentary The Road To Athens. He has worked across newspapers, radio and the biggest flagship magazine brands in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, James was the News Director at Woman's Day and New Idea. Whether filing celebrity exclusives, or some of the biggest real-life splashes of recent years, James’ career has always been at the frontline of mainstream media. When not writing, you’ll find him at Royal Randwick, his beloved Long Reef Golf Club on the Northern Beaches – or visiting his mum in his native New Zealand.


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