“It was a dream come true,” says 19-year-old Ashland City resident Ashley Bugg of her role in Boundless, an inclusive high-fashion runway show designed for adults of all ages, sizes, and physical abilities.
Presented by Fashion is for Every Body and Empower Tennessee, Boundless is the only show of its kind in the Nashville area. And on September 9, Bugg, along with 25 others, including her own grandmother, Glenda Turner, took part in the show held at Studio 615 in Nashville.
“This show meant a lot to me simply because of the message it brought through fashion. It shows that fashion truly is boundless whether you are disabled like I am or able-bodied,” Bugg said. “It shows people that just because we might have a disability or be different from our peers, doesn’t mean we don't have the capacity to be who we are meant to be.”
Able-bodied, wheelchair bound, and even professional models ranging in age from 18-60, sizes 00-28, took part in the second annual event.
56-year-old co-founder, Alicia Searcy, believes strongly in the transformative power of fashion.
"Something magical happens to the people involved in Boundless. Be they models, volunteers, designers, or audience members, the experience changes them in positive ways. Models are truly transformed from the inside-out. Regardless of their age, shape, or ability, their confidence carries those clothes down the runway and that confidence continues in their everyday lives,” says Searcy who uses Bugg as the perfect example of what the show can do for a model.
Bugg, she says, was initially “painfully shy” before the inaugural run of the show in 2016. Searcy says that Bugg, who was highly publicized last spring when she was initially told she could not attend her senior prom because of strict policies regarding homebound students and extra curricular activities, quickly overcame her fears. Once she let her natural ability out to shine, according to Searcy, Bugg was one of their best models.
“She challenged her unjust banishment from her own prom and saw the decision overturned in time to attend. She's starting college and is more confident and sociable thanks in part to her experience as one of our models. I'm immensely proud of her,” added Searcy.
The mission of Fashion is for Every Body is to eliminate the stigmas that oftentimes attach themselves to individuals who do not conform with modern day expectations and interpretations of beauty.
“I am incredibly honored to have been a part of it,” says Bugg, who aspires to be back on the runway in next year’s show.