Nordstrom ads feature models with disabilities
Advertising • Upscale retailer is one of the few companies that feature disabled in catalogs.
Published: July 16, 2014 04:00PM
Updated: July 16, 2014 04:08PM
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This undated image provided by Nordstrom shows a model in a wheelchair advertising boots in the company’s annual July anniversary catalog, which is its biggest sale event of the year with preview discounts on new fashions for fall. Nordstrom has been using professional models with disabilities in ads and catalogs since 1997. A consulting firm called Global Disability Inclusion says only a few companies use models with disabilities _ though there are more now than in the past _ and calls Nordstrom “an industry leader” in that regard. (AP Photo/Nordstrom)

New York • It’s not easy to find models with disabilities in ads for the fashion and beauty industry — unless you look in the Nordstrom catalog.

The company has been using models with disabilities since 1997 and continues the tradition in its annual July catalog, which kicks off the upscale retailer’s largest event of the year with preview discounts of new fashions for fall.

This summer’s Nordstrom Inc. catalog includes among others a woman in a wheelchair modeling boots and a man with a prosthetic leg modeling Nike running shoes.

Hiring professional models with disabilities has become so much a part of the Seattle-based company’s DNA that its regular customers may not even realize how unusual it is.

“Identifying companies that utilize models or actresses with disabilities has been like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Meg O’Connell, a partner at the consulting firm Global Disability Inclusion.

Nordstrom, she added, “is a leader in this space and has been a long-standing supporter of disability inclusion not only in their advertising but also in employment and accessibility in their stores.”