‘Models of Diversity’ Western Canada Fashion Week preview for Vue Weekly


Photo by JProcktor

I had the chance to dip my toe back into the fashion world with this week’s Vue Weekly cover story. Benveet Gill will join other models with disabilities and injuries on the Western Canada Fashion Week catwalk this season.

This spring’s Western Canada Fashion Week (WCFW) turns its focus towards a different kind of diversity than the one it has championed for 13 years.

WCFW Creative Director Sandra Sing Fernandes tried to orchestrate a fashion showcase for models with disabilities and injuries a year ago, and was disappointed when it ultimately fell through.

Then, two months ago, she received a serendipitous call from an old friend who previously worked as a WCFW makeup artist, Benveet “Bean” Gill. She had been struck by a virus-induced autoimmune disease in 2012, and the transverse myelitis in her spinal chord paralyzed her lower body.

“I’m in a wheelchair, but I’d love to model,” she told Fernandes over the phone. Read more

Gill and Fernandes reunited and materialized an important fashion showcase that challenges the stigma around people with disabilities. I’m glad I got the chance to tell a bit of their story.


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