Marist Students Present Adaptive Clothing Exhibit
February 1, 2023 – The recently chartered Runway of Dreams at Marist College is presenting The Adaptive Exhibit for the Spring 2023 Semester at the Steel Plant Gallery. Students have led the curation and production of the exhibit by showcasing the concept of fashionable, functional, and accessible adaptive clothing, apparel that is specially designed for people with disabilities.
The exhibit promotes the mission of the Runway of Dreams organization, which seeks to empower people with disabilities through fashion inclusion, featuring adaptive brands such as Steve Madden, Seven7, é Ispirante, Zappos, Mai We Care, and more. Marist students decorated the gallery with donated fabric from Fabscrap and included original adaptive designs in 2D by Marist fashion seniors. 2D digital design renderings and work with the adaptive brands help students build their skill set and professional portfolios, while helping innovate the adaptive fashion space.
Photos by Carlo de Jesus/Marist College
“It's been incredibly rewarding putting together The Adaptive Exhibit,” said Julia Panas '25, President of Runway of Dreams at Marist. “I've been able to learn from and teach so many people on adaptive fashion through connecting with industry leaders, independent brands, students, and faculty. There is more and more interest in this space and all of us are still in the process of learning more.”
“Prior to the opening, several people asked me what adaptive clothing means,” said Isabela Cruz '25, PR/Marketing Chair of Runway of Dreams at Marist. “This is the exact reason we put this exhibit together. My goal for The Adaptive Exhibit is to spread awareness and build an educational platform around adaptive fashion. In a world full of diversity, inclusiveness should already be the norm.”
“Being able to assist in the gallery opening was such a rewarding experience,” said Khmari Awai '23, Community Outreach Chair of Runway of Dreams at Marist. “The Runway of Dreams organization has an amazing mission that aligns with everything I stand for and that is to empower those who are cast aside in society and to push for more diversity and inclusivity in our lives.”
The gallery opening welcomed students, alumni, community members, and faculty, including President Kevin Weinman, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Dr. Edward Antonio, Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts, Dr. Jacqueline Reich, and Fashion Program Director John Bartlett. Other notable attendees included Designer and Owner of é Ispirante Barbara Beccio and Racial and Health Equity Manager of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Jamil Paden.
Runway of Dreams was introduced to Marist as a capstone project last spring by three seniors: Caleigh Horrigan, Olivia Holmes, and Alexandra Ede. Their goal was to start a Marist chapter and elect students to continue it after their graduation. Since then, Marist fashion students have embraced the organization’s goals.
“The Runway of Dreams Marist Student Chapter is a very exciting new facet to our Fashion Program,” said Bartlett. “It speaks directly to the students and their commitment to creating a more equitable world that embraces difference and diversity. The curated show of adaptive fashion is something we can all relate to, and it is exciting to see how the fashion industry, normally associated with exclusivity, is creating such inclusive designs for a more universal customer. I am so proud and inspired by the students who created this exhibit and are spearheading the Runway of Dreams Marist chapter.”
The Adaptive Exhibit runs now through March 13th.