In Tirana, Albania, deaf students of all ages created numerous drawings. But instead of taking them home or displaying them in the classroom, they were collected by someone unexpected.
Gentian Minga — editor-in-chief of Albanian magazine Living — and fashion designer Mirela Nurce collected these drawings and created an entire fashion line using the kids’ drawings as prints on the dresses, blouses, bags, and umbrellas.
There’s an idea that fashion has to have a chic, grown-up aesthetic to be taken seriously — but these bright, vibrant prints created by the students show that a childhood touch has a serious creative edge, and the uninhibited creativity of kids is something adults everywhere could take a cue from.
And then, on December 3 — which the U.N. declared the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2013 — they held a fashion show.
Well-known Albanian models appeared to show off the fashions, and walked down the runway with their designers, the students.
Check out the event — and the fashions — below, and pick out your favorite. And if you have a favorite piece of art from your kids, consider getting it printed onto a shirt. Then you can share it with the world!
Photos by Armand Habazaj, Arbnor Allaraj, Andi Allko, Elton Braja
The fashions featured the kids’ drawings printed on silk and wool fabrics in the bright, saturated colors that the students used to create the originals.
Designer Mirela Nurce placed them on the garments in a way that would make the images stand out dramatically, while still flowing with the shape of the garment.
While some might dismiss kids’ art, there’s no denying how stunning it is in this new context!
Using simple shapes for the dresses, Mirela kept the focus on the artwork.
The original artwork was also displayed at the show, so the audience could appreciate its transformation from paper to fashion.
During the show, the young artists walked down the runway with the professional models who sported their designs.
Among them was supermodel Emina Cunmulaj.
The fashion show was created to show the public that although disabilities like deafness might pose challenges, they in no way limit talent, creativity, and innovation.
It was also created to help young people with disabilities, like these students, see that despite whatever limitations they may have, they can still achieve amazing things.
Various fashion organizations supported the event, as did the Swiss Embassy in Tirana and the United Nations Development Programme in Albania.
Gentian Minga, one of the organizers and the editor-in-chief of Living magazine, describes the event as celebrating “people with disabilities, but with unlimited talents.”
Lately, the fashion and entertainment industry have been responding to the public’s demand to accept and celebrate people of all abilities.
Earlier this year, 18-year-old Madeline Stuart, who has Down Syndrome, walked the runway at New York Fashion Week.
People like Gentian and Mirela want to make the world of fashion a more inclusive place, and this show was the first step in making that dream a reality.
If you like what you’ve seen here, you can create your own custom artwork garment using something you or your kids have created with one of the many printing services online.
And if you think the talents of all people, regardless of age or disability, should be celebrated, SHARE this article!