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Malaysian boutique employs models with Down Syndrome to break beauty stereotypes

Here’s a clothing company that is trying to combat the unachievable stereotypes of the modelling industry. We are totally cheering.

If there is any industry that pushes the unachievable ideal of the ‘perfect’ person, it’s the modelling industry. We constantly see skinny, tall, white people who look like Barbie and Ken. It’s an industry that fuels self esteem issues and puts forward poor role models for younger generations.

However, a Malaysian boutique is taking these social standards and walking all over them. A local boutique in the city of Petaling Jaya has employed models with Down Syndrome to represent their latest line, the Raya collection.

The collection at Maqilla Boutique uses the slogan “You Are your Own Kind of Beautiful” in conjunction with the Down Syndrome Association of Malaysia. The idea is to raise awareness for Down Syndrome and instil the idea that everyone is beautiful, no matter what.

37-year-old Paralympian Siti Marina Frohlich told The Star “Everyone is beautiful on the inside, and I feel like I’m beautiful.” She also spoke about how exciting the experience was, saying, “It felt good (to model) and I was very happy.”

The owners of Maqilla, Nur Aqilah, and Wan Irmawati Idayu, said they have loved ones with Down Syndrome and wanted to play their part in helping the community understand the syndrome.

Wan Irmawati said, “By including these beautiful women in our ads, we are in fact normalising the idea that they are as much included in our society as anyone else.”

Check out more at Maqilla’s Facebook page.


About the author

Bronte is a media student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). She enjoys music, fitness, and exploring the city.