The world’s first runway model in a wheelchair, Alexandra Kutas, visits the Condé Nast College to talk networking, inclusivity and diversity.
Alexandra Kutas visits the Condé Nast College
The industry speaker on campus last Tuesday was Alexandra Kutas, an activist and the world’s first runway model in a wheelchair. During this panel, Kutas orally mapped her experience using fashion as a method of facilitating social change. From her first encounter with the notion of ‘beauty,’ to the achievements she has earned and the obstacles she has overcome along the way.
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After extremely intense 2 weeks my last night in London has been the happiest one. No, not because I wanted to leave so badly 🙂 because I felt like it is a right place to stay and I will be back. All my plans for the night had canceled, but I felt it would be silly just to stay at home. So I asked myself what can I do to make myself happy tonight? The answer came easily, I went out to watch the Musical Mamma Mia. I got last minute ticket and completely felt in love with all the songs. I could not stop smiling for the whole show. And I could not stop singing 🎤 dancing queen on the bus station afterwards 🙂 While I was waiting for my #nevercomes bus I ran into leading actresses from the musical. They told me they love my shoes :p It was the night when I felt like I chose happiness and it chose me back ♥️ Photo and mua by @elenap0p0va ❤️ #love #happy #happiness #smile #dancing #queen #bnw #girl #model #diversity #bestnight #inlove #mammamia #perfectnight #picoftheday #dance #blackandwhite
Network with people you admire
Scouted in a café by a photographer when she was sixteen, Kutas quickly learned that she possessed an aptitude for modelling. She remarked on how important networking has been for her career since then, which is a truism of the industry at large. She noted, however, that it was networking with people whom she admired that truly helped her achieve her goals. This idea was highlighted by her sentiment that “no matter how amazing you are, you cannot change the world by yourself – you need a team who shares the same dreams and beliefs” as you. Especially when that dream is so much bigger than yourself.
Persistence pays off
Kutas’ contribution to the fashion industry is underscored by her dedication and belief in inclusivity and diversity. When faced with adversity, she consistently persisted and sought out opportunities to excel in her career. She showed up, sent emails and wrote 300 letters to agencies while cultivating her career from its fledgling status the notoriety she has today.
Just last year she was invited to the British Fashion Awards for the work she’s done. This includes co-founding the adaptive clothing company PUFFINS. Her philosophy for the brand, and adaptive clothing at large, is simple: respect the needs of others. Kutas noted how she hopes CNC students we will go forth into the industry minding the experiences of others and that we make an impact on the world that will outlive us. I have no doubt that Kutas’ wisdom, advice and inspiring story will leave not only an impression on our work in the years to come, but an impression on the world at large. Can’t wait to see how her work progresses in the future.
By Megan McClelland, MA Fashion Media Practice