FASHION

Fashion is Expression of Who You Are: Celebrating Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome

Salwa Ben

Difference is beauty with Down Syndrome

My name is Salwa. I am French and Moroccan. I was born in 1998 with an additional chromosome. My Down syndrome chose to pick a Leucemia along the way, but I was against it. Of course, my additional chromosome was more than enough. Thus, I won the battle against Leucemia but the rascal gifted me with a poisoned chalice, and I lost my hair. After this battle, my hair never grew back. That did not prevent me to fill my live with dreams. I am one of the biggest fashion addicts and when I am shopping with my sister or friends, everybody looks at me. It's not because I am a beautiful & young women, but because I have NO HAIR. People give me the side eye looking at me with pity and even fear sometimes. Is that shocking? Well, disabilities are scarcely represented!

putting faces of Down syndrome on the forefront

Have you ever seen  a person with Down syndrome being the face of a famous brand or being on the cover of  magazines in France? Exactly. That may justify why people react in such a manner whenever they see me. It's human nature; we do not know, we do not see, so we judge and look with insistence. "Poor girl. She has Down syndrome and she is bald." By sharing pictures on my Instagram account, my purpose is to challenge social representation and put faces of Down syndrome on the forefront. I am a fashion addict! Fashion is an expression of personality. When I feel fashion, I have good energy and feel more confident. Clothing has the ability to express attitude and fashion values and that's my fashion expression. Never forget that  the perception we have of disabled people varies according to the place it has in our social structure.  So, let's be at the forefront of universal inclusion.

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