The future of fashion: models of all shapes, sizes, heights, races, and abilities.

We often have discussions about how we need to see more "real women" in fashion, media, and advertising.

But what exactly is a "real woman?"

A real woman is any living, breathing human who identifies as a woman.


Real women are tall, short — and everything in between. Real women are slender, curvy, and plus-size — and everything in between. Real women are all different races and ethnicities. Real women are assigned female at birth and transgender. Real women have different abilities and disabilities.

When we talk about wanting to see "real women" reflected back to us and when we say we want clothing available for real women of all sizes, we're simply asking for more variety.

Because the 5'10", 120-pound, size 0 model? She's most certainly real too. She's just not the only kind of real.

Fashion designer and business owner Mallorie Dunn is here for real women — all of them.

Mallorie Dunn. All photos provided by Mallorie Dunn, used with permission.

She created the fashion line SmartGlamour, which she describes as a "body positive clothing line of customizable, ethically-made pieces from XXS to 6X and beyond."

And on Feb. 19, she hosted a runway show during New York Fashion Week unlike anything the fashion world is used to seeing.

The SmartGlamour fashion show was an amazing display of real women rocking Dunn's designs.

It featured 24 models, from sizes XS to 5X, who walked the runway in front of a completely packed room.

Dunn's models, she told Upworthy, come in all sizes, shapes, heights, weights, ages, abilities, and identities. It seems that she definitely has real women covered.

The brand is about creating clothing for all women.

While Dunn has always loved designing and making clothes, she told me the most important reason she created SmartGlamour "was to help fix how badly people, and women specifically, feel about themselves and their bodies."

Dunn explained that when we feel bad about ourselves because of the fashion industry, it's often a two-part problem.

First, it's hard to find clothes that fit well and when we don't have luck, it can wear on our self-esteem. Second, she said, "Models depict 5% of people. That leaves 95% of people feeing like they have no representation, looking around thinking, 'If don’t look like these people, clearly there’s something wrong with me.'"

While it might feel that way, it's just not true. And Dunn is doing her part to change that.

She offers customizable clothing and selects models for her website and shows that are diverse in every way. By giving women options and showing them women they can relate to, "you can really change the way people feel about themselves," Dunn added.

Take a look at more of the women who walked the runway in SmartGlamour's spring show:

The show was a hit, but are times really changing?

I asked Dunn whether she thinks we'll see big changes in the fashion and advertising industries given that there have been steps in the right direction (like the first plus-size model appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated).

"We've seen small baby steps so far. It can only continue to get better," Dunn said. When it comes to large companies, "There's no reason for them not to do it. I’m one person and I fund my own company. I seem to be able to do it. If one person can do it, I don’t see why giant companies can’t!"

Excellent point. Your move, fashion industry!

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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