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Pregnancy is in

Something nearly unprecedented happened on Saturday at Fashion Week in New York.

No, there weren’t any live goats on the runway (at least, not this year). No, PETA reps didn’t throw red paint on anyone and, no, nobody died. (All of these were actual events from years prior, believe it or not.)

Something much crazier happened.

One of the models showed her belly. Her pregnant belly.

In an industry constantly criticized for promoting wildly unhealthy body standards — to the point that some countries are passing legislation to protect models from the ridiculous demands of the business — the sight of a bloated stomach in a sea of sunken ones is more than a little surprising.

On September 9th, however, despite established fashion norms, artist Maia Ruth Lee stepped onto the runway with a muted-lilac, snap-up dress unclasped strategically to show her round, 8-month-pregnant belly.

It’s important to note that pregnant models have walked for Fashion Week before, but rarely so and never without concealing their abdomens. Instead of moving to hide Lee’s very pregnant belly, however, these designers chose to highlight it. Furthermore, the model’s confidence and outer beauty at a time when most women feel like a beached whale is both shocking and inspiring.

Modesty issues aside, this is a fascinating shift to see in the fashion world. The brand responsible for Lee’s dress, Eckhaus Latta, has a history of flaunting unconventional models, and the addition of a child-bearing model serves as an empowering nod to expectant mothers everywhere.

Perhaps, we dare to hope, this bold move will nudge society just a little closer to a culture of life. We’ve already seen activism to promote breastfeeding and paid paternal leave. Now motherhood is on shining display at the world’ most-watched fashion event, being acknowledged for what it really is: beautiful.

— Forest Hempen
Marketing and Communications Associate