WESTFIELD, NJ — With more than 550 people watching 42 models strut the newest all-inclusive local fashion, Runway of Dreams lit up the Westfield High School auditorium Friday.

It was the first fashion show for the WHS chapter of the Runway of Dreams Foundation, highlighting adaptive clothing for people with special needs through on-trend pieces from local stores and student designs. The show featured models of all abilities.

The student producers of the event, WHS junior Jillian Laconti and WHS freshman Charlotte Cohen, have known Runway of Dreams Foundation founder Mindy Scheier since they were little. They both went on to take a fashion class called “Future Fashionistas” that was taught by Scheier.

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When Sheier started foundation, Laconti also started to get involved, working on their past two shows in New York and Las Vegas by styling and helping out.

“That is how I got a behind-the-scenes look at it,” Laconti said

Working with the organization and its founder is what inspired Laconti and Cohen to start a chapter of the Runway for Dreams Foundation at the high school. The fashion show is their first event as a club.

“Our inspiration to have the show here was especially due to the fact there are so many students with disabilities at our school,” said Cohen. “It is so important to shed light on this and create awareness within our larger community and the school community.”

EJB Entertainment, a business ran by WHS senior Ethan Berman, set up and emceed the event.

“Jillian had asked if I could help her out, and of course I was happy to do so,” said Berman. “I really love giving back to the community and helping a great cause.”

The money raised during the Runway for Dreams Fashion Show will be donated to the Runway of Dreams Foundation, which aims to broaden the reach of adaptive clothing while promoting those with disabilities in fashion through opportunity, empowerment and inclusion.

Hanna Zakharenko is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.

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