Two months ago I had the chance to speak with Isabel Springmühl about incorporating Hannah into Isabella’s runway. Let me go back and tell you all about these two empowering, strong, and amazing women. Isabella is the daughter of Isabel Tejada; she is 20 years old diagnosed with down syndrome who has become a unique and recognized fashion designer. Isabel, after having Isabella, founded La Fundacion Margarita Tejada (The Margarita Tejada Foundation) with the help and support of her family, to help families that have kids with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. The ability to create runs in this wonderful family and that’s how Isabella became such an amazing and now recognized fashion designer by the young age of 20, having shown her beautiful work in London Fashion Week, Italy, Mexico, Panama and finally her first show where she was born and raised, Guatemala.
Video and first album of photos by Carlos López Ayerdi.
The inspiration for Down to Xjabelle comes from her grandmother (Isabel’s mother) Blanca de Tejada. Blanca had her own brand of clothing called Xjabelle, which began in the exact same spot where Isabella now has her own atelier. She learned everything she knows from her grandmother and mother being simultaneously inspired by the textiles, colors, and textures from her home country Guatemala, bringing her ideas to life in a very unique way.
Hannah was included in Isabella´s big opening in Guatemala, which was also the first inclusive runway in our country, a very important one that demonstrates everyone is capable of everything, the sky is the limit and Isabella believes the world could be a better place by showing us how inclusion makes us a stronger society. This runway was called VOLAR *FLY. We all have wings, we all deserve to fly, to shine, to achieve goals and I think it is important to live in a world filled with love and kindness were we can become that strong wind that will help many fly and achieve their goals + dreams to live in an included world.
Hannah was born in NYC and diagnosed with DS 17 months ago, everyone told us how blessed we were and how beautiful our life would be because of our daughter. We knew it was true, we knew Hannah would grow, shine and make our lives just perfect, giving us also that extra meaning to it. Today, I can say that even though I knew how blessed I was, this ride has been unbelievable; we laugh so much more than we used to, we travel, we explore, we share, we do everything together, all because of our Little Nubecita (Hannah) and she keeps reminding us with many daily surprises, how beautiful life is.
The day of the show, I arrived at the place of the event earlier, I met with friends and started to talk about Hannah’s experience living in the US, people we’ve met, who has helped us a lot in many ways, and later I was introduced to moms, moms like me, happy and proud mothers and also other fantastic people participating in the runway. My heart was filled with love and excitement, I could not stop smiling and anxious to wait for Hannah to arrive (she was still a bit jetlagged so she stayed home napping and having her dinner before the show). Hannah arrived 30 min before the show started and as soon as she arrived, it was all smiles and giggles.
As soon as the music started, Hannah started to move, jumping, waving goodbye to everyone, and dancing. I kept telling her to stay still because it was not our time to go and there were other amazing designers showing their collection, also including models with different disabilities which was breathtaking. Everyone was in such a great mood, it was definitely not the typical or traditional runway where you just sit down and watch. You could feel the crew was full of energy and there was non stop applauses, people cheering, great music and a unique vibe. Now it was our time to walk and Hannah could not be any more excited.
When our moment came, I really thought I was going to walk with Hannah very calm, maybe put her on the ground at the end of the runway because I knew if she listens to the music, she would start moving and dancing and then walk calmly back. That didn´t happened at all! I walked fast, Hannah was happy waving at everyone, not understanding why everyone was clapping or cheering for her. I felt like crying. I couldn´t stop looking at her and feeling proud of my Little Nubecita.
My purpose in life it’s happiness, my happiness it´s filled by seeing those who I love and cherish achieve their goals and dreams. Now, Hannah, is not only the most important and outstanding little human being possible to me and Stefan but also to the rest of the family, and seeing her grow, smiling, filled with joy and happy, makes me feel capable of anything and most important, to guide and help her achieve anything she dreams of in a near future. With only 17 months, she gives us so much without even knowing it. It is hard to explain but I know that everyone has a special someone who makes us feel big, strong and unique. Hannah has definitely made our world a better one.
Thank you again to everyone for all the support, love, smiles. Thank you to all the family and friends for their incoditional love. Thank you to new friends, wonderful people I met that night. Last but not least, thank you Bel, I admire you, I respect all the hard work you have done with Isabella but most of all you are a true inspiration to so many new mothers starting this beautiful path, and filling our lives with strenght to push our kids to dream and fly high.