Help Us Gather (HUG), a Clearwater nonprofit is partnering with Surf Style to feature another model with a disability. According to the Disability Insider, the two organizations first partnered in 2019 to feature a model with Down syndrome. This year, Surf Style will showcase a new model with cerebral palsy.
Andrew Brettner, 25, from St. Petersburg, Florida resident uses a power chair for mobility, which is featured prominently in the new campaign. HUG recruited Brettner to model for both his “Tom Cruise” good looks and the opportunity to raise disability awareness and homogenize mobility devices into daily life.
The fashion shoot was held in late April on the Treasure Island MobiMat, an accessible, non-slip, permanent pathway that leads from the parking lot to just a few feet from the water. It enables people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices to join family and friends at the beach. According to MobiMat, only 30 parks and public beaches in the state of Florida are equipped with one.
“People with disabilities are the nation’s largest minority group, yet they are rarely featured in fashion marketing,” said Robin Lally, founder of HUG. “They deserve to be included in every facet of life and this campaign is a great step forward.”
According to the Disability Insider, HUG takes every opportunity to advocate for social inclusion for people with disabilities in business, school and everyday life. The nonprofit hopes this new campaign will continue to highlight the need for diversity and inclusion in marketing and that more companies, both small and large, will follow Surf Style’s lead.
“It’s an important message and it really resonates with us. We are happy to continue featuring models with disabilities and working with HUG,” said Tara Malinasky, Marketing Manager at Surf Style.
HUG’s mission is to advocate for inclusion and connect individuals with disabilities to social events and activities. You can learn more about the organization here.
Sources: Disability Insider, HUG