She clearly didn't need it. The American amputee athlete showed no visible signs of nerves as she stepped onto the runway for the VAWK show at World MasterCard Fashion Week on Monday with an eye-catching accessory to complement her sleek long-sleeved dress: a Canadian-made prosthetic accessory.
Resembling a piece of geometrically shaped decorative armour, Winters sported the intricate piece created by Alberta-based Alleles Design Studio which specializes in accessories for lower limb prosthetics.
Winters is director of A Step Ahead Prosthetics in Long Island, N.Y. VAWK designer Sunny Fong previously worked with Alleles design partner McCauley Wanner, and Winters said they asked her to be part of the show.
"It's amazing. It's absolutely as comfortable as can be," Winters said of the accessory, which she wore for the first time during her turn on the catwalk.
Winters lost her leg below the knee following a 1994 motorcycle accident. After three years and 25 surgeries, her left leg was amputated below the knee. It would take three years following the amputation before she could even attempt to run again, according to her online biography. Winters said she recently completed a three-day race and plans on competing in yet another endurance event: the Death Race.
In presenting his current collection as well as previous shows, Fong has made a concerted effort to feature models of various body types, races and ages.
While the diversity of fashion consumers isn't always mirrored in the models featured on the runway, Winters felt honoured to be recognized and to have the chance to participate.
"It's just nice, I think, to be a part of and to be included," she said.
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