Sister TikTok Duo Sarah and Emily Celebrate Down Syndrome Representation by Modeling During NYFW

Content creator Sarah Carolyn said her sister Emily, who stars in many of her TikTok videos, "broke centuries worth of barriers" when they walked in Jacqueline City Apparel's charity fashion show.

By Gabrielle Chung Feb 16, 2022 11:11 PMTags
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Representation matters—and that was the case at a recent runway event during New York Fashion Week.

According to TikToker Sarah Carolyn, who has more than 2.9 million followers on the social media platform, her sister Emily "broke centuries worth of barriers" by walking in the Jaqueline City Apparel charity fashion show this week. As a model with Down Syndrome, Emily shattered "expectations that lie within the fashion industry," including that people "look, walk and dress a certain way" on the runway, Sarah wrote alongside a video that has since been viewed more than 2.2 million times.

At the show, Emily modeled a baby pink T-shirt that read "Disabled Is Not a Dirty Word," gray leggings and black sneakers. Meanwhile, Sarah—who accompanied her younger sister down the catwalk—wore a white tee, tulle skirt embellished with chains and mini sword decorations and black heels.

The outfits' designer, Jaqueline City, took to TikTok on Wednesday, Feb. 16, to share her vision behind the looks. 

See Every Star at New York Fashion Week 2022

"Emily is very sensitive to clothing, so I did not create her an outfit head-to-toe [for her]. I gave her a bunch of different options," Jaqueline said in a video. "She was so excited to pick out this T-shirt."


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Explaining that she was "very aware of her sensory issues," the designer shared, "I wanted to give her the room to be able to choose her own outfit as opposed to create her an outfit based on her story—because her sensory issues are part of her story—and I wanted to recognize that."

Jaqueline added that while Emily had previously chosen several accessories to model with the outfit, the teen "just wanted to hold her sister's hand" right before stepping out onto the catwalk. She said of Emily, "She was just being welcomed in the way that we best know how."

As for Sarah's look, Jaqueline said she designed the pieces to reflect the TikToker's past struggles. "Something that really inspires me from Sarah's story is that she is a survivor as well," she explained. "She found the courage to keep going and to keep living her life despite these things that were weighing her down. So, I really want to focus on chain aspect."

Alongside another TikTok video, Sarah applauded her younger sibling for being her authentic self on the runway. "Emily CHOSE her outfit. She wanted no hair done. No makeup. No fancy outfit," she wrote. "She wanted to showcase HERSELF. She advocated for what she wanted."

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However, not everyone has been as receptive to the outfit Emily chose for her runway walk, according to Sarah. In a third video, the TikToker said that she and Emily "expect hate, and we welcome it" as an opportunity to spread awareness and educate others.

"This is a massive change. Fashion is a form of self-expression so we should love what we wear," she said. "Who's gonna change these generational traditions that are only accepted in the fashion industry? Someone has to be the first to do it and that's exactly what we're doing."