Fashion on the street for people on the autism spectrum

Almost everyone who will take part in the show has a personal connection to autism, either because they are on the spectrum themselves or have a family member who is, or through their work.

 Demonstration in Tel Aviv to increase budget for people with autism over 21 years of age. (photo credit: HANNAH BROWN)
Demonstration in Tel Aviv to increase budget for people with autism over 21 years of age.
(photo credit: HANNAH BROWN)

A Tel Aviv street fashion show will be held on March 29 at noon on Rothschild Boulevard and the corner of Sheinkin Street to bring attention to a national fundraising campaign for children and adults with autism that is being conducted by Alut – The Israeli Society for Autistic Children, and the Association for Children at Risk – Autism Treatment and Research Center.

Almost everyone who will take part in the show has a personal connection to autism, either because they are on the spectrum themselves or have a family member who is, or through their work. The show will be conducted in a sensory-friendly way that will be welcoming to those on the spectrum and the aim is to integrate people with autism into the event and into every facet of society.

The show will be moderated by Lihi Lapid, an author and advocate for those on the spectrum. She and her husband, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, are the parents of Yaeli, a daughter who has autism. Participants will include the model Nibar Madar, who has been studying the subject of autism for years and who has a cousin on the spectrum; actor Avi Grainik, who directed the show, Laughing on the Spectrum, with a group of students from a communication class; actress and comedian Neta Garty; baker and social-media influencer Or Spitz, who was recruited by Eilie Regev, an artist on the spectrum whose mother owns a cafe; Ninja Israel participant Assaf Hili, an athlete who trains people with autism to climb walls; actor Idan Shakroka, who is working on a show inspired by his younger brother, who is on the spectrum; musician Michal Tzafir; Michael Givati, who runs a theater group for people with special needs; Tehilla Levi, the beauty pageant winner who dedicated her year as Miss Israel to raising autism awareness; model and actress Ronit Yudkevitz; and Yonit Rabinovich, the wife of Dr. Ilan Rabinovich and mother of two children on the spectrum.

According to Amos Shapira, chairman of Alut, who will walk alongside his partner Heli, a special education teacher, and his niece Or Shapira, a model, the event will be “a real celebration of integration. Far beyond the clothes they will present, they actually showcase the uniqueness and beauty of each person and they will reach the front of the stage.”

Tzipi Nagel, CEO of the Association for Children at Risk – Autism Treatment and Research Center, said, ”The Association for Children at Risk and ALUT have been working for years to raise awareness of autism among the public. An ongoing and consistent effort must be made to raise awareness for equal rights for people with autism. The fashion show is a happy, colorful and optimistic event that conveys a powerful and empowering message. I am proud of everyone who contributed to its success and thank everyone who helped create it.”

Susana Cristo Anzola is pulled by her daughter Olivia, a 4-year-old on the autism spectrum, to enter a closed playground during the lockdown amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain, April 9, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/SUSANA VERA)Susana Cristo Anzola is pulled by her daughter Olivia, a 4-year-old on the autism spectrum, to enter a closed playground during the lockdown amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain, April 9, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/SUSANA VERA)

Noa Viviorka, VP of marketing for the Story Network, said, “As part of the Story Network’s activities that promote conscious and value-changing consumers and promote the Give a Damn agenda to preserve the planet we live on and to create a more decent and tolerant society, we appreciate the opportunity to partner in this important venture. We are proud and happy to dress the participants in the spring collection items of the brands we represent, which promote these agendas themselves.”

The show’s producer is Smadar Ganzi, CEO of a fashion events company. Among those who volunteered on this project are Ravit Assaf, who runs a network of schools for the make-up and beauty professions; DJ Niv Aroya; Rashgad Engineering and Safety Company; R. Ben Yishai Engineering and Electricity; and the event companies Guy-Eyal and AM Stage credibility.

All those involved in the project hope it will be the first of many such events.

To donate to the campaign to provide housing, education, treatment, activities and more for people on the spectrum visit: https://bit.ly/3tHxlna.