Jillian Mercado has appeared in campaigns for Diesel, Target, Nordstrom, but Sunday night marked her time on a New York Fashion Week runway. Rocking a sheer embellished bodysuit and matching headdress, the model/disability activist took to the runway in a motorized wheelchair — with gold screws — for The Blonds’ Fall 2020 collection.
Mercado wrote about her career milestone on Instagram, saying: “This moment was brought to you by every single person who has a disability around the world that has felt unseen and unheard. [...] I’ve been through countless wars making sure that this moment was exactly how I imagined through every obstacle you can think of.” Designer David Blond responded with an enthusiastic comment on Mercado's post. “You ruled! Thank [you] so much for bringing this life! So much love and respect! #SaintJillian.”
The collection as a whole was larger-than-life. Models strutted down the runway wearing head-turning silhouettes, eye-catching embellishments, and textures that ranged from allover feathers to metal mesh bodysuits. There was studded denim, thigh-high gold boots, and structured corsets with matching bikini briefs.
The Blonds designers are pioneers in fashion, making their runway shows inclusive well before it became an industry talking point. Beyond Mercado, the show regularly features a variety of genders, ethnicities, and body types, which is rare among the high-fashion runway set. Here’s to many more shows like this one as the industry dives head-first into a month of runway shows for the Fall 2020 season.