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Nordstrom ads feature models with disabilities

Published July 16, 2014 4:00 pm

Advertising • Upscale retailer is one of the few companies that feature disabled in catalogs.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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."