Nordstrom’s anniversary sale can often be enough to create some buzz around the Seattle-based retailer, but this time, one of their models is coming close to trumping the news. Fashion blogger and editor Jillian Mercado has used a wheelchair since age 12 and is one of the faces of the July 2014 catalog. The 26-year-old Fashion Institute of Technology grad, who is living with muscular dystrophy, is featured wearing a black leather jacket with Aquatalia by Marvin K moto boots and a spiky lavender-hued shag.
Nordstrom’s Kelly Skahan told Boston.com via e-mail the retailer has a “long history” of including a range of models in their campaigns, and writes, “Across our business, we think it’s important to reflect the diverse customers and communities we serve; whether that’s through the products and services we offer our customers or the catalogs we create.”
AP traces Nordstrom’s incorporation of models with disabilities back to 1997 and notes that “a man with a prosthetic leg modeling Nike running shoes” can also be found in this summer’s campaign. They also write, “The clothing that Nordstrom models wear is not adapted in any way. The model wearing Nikes has one on his foot and the other on his prosthetic device.”
Mercado, who serves as the editorial director of Tumblr’s WeTheUrban, is represented by Red Model Management, and previously appeared in Diesel’s fall 2013 campaign, styled by Nicola Formichetti. In a January interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Formichetti said of Mercado, “It’s never easy for her to move from point A to point B, but she’s totally fearless and has really been an inspiration to me.”
Nordstrom seems to be playing it pretty cool, but we want to know what’s next for the model du jour. With two major campaigns under her belt, we can only suspect we’ll see more of Mercado in the future, but she just hopes her success will be an inspiration to someone else. As she told ELLE after Diesel dropped, “If I have any purpose with this, it’s to let people who are in a similar position to me know that anything is possible. If you want to be an astronaut, go do that! With hard work and some initiative, anything can happen.”