On August 4th, 2023 Autism MATES took their powerful Model MATES fashion show to the stage at Sydney Disability Expo in Homebush.

Model MATES has hosted their inspiring runway shows in partnership with Westfield
shopping centres throughout New South Wales. Invited to showcase their much loved Model MATES show, Autism MATES has partnered with leading adaptive Australian designers, Christina Stephens & JAM The Label, who provided looks for each model involved.

With Sydney Disability Expo a key cultural moment that connects thousands of people with disabilities with hundreds of products and service providers, Autism MATES, similarly, wanted to partner closely with fashion designers who are leading the market in adaptive, yet style-led designs - making fashionable clothing options accessible to everyone. Leaders in the category, it was Christina Stephens and JAM The Label who curated the looks for Australia’s first AAFW runway show in 2022, with each look modelled by people with disabilities.

Autism MATES is focused on empowerment. The organisation strives for acceptance, hosting events that put Australia’s autistic community front and centre on stage to advocate for themselves and their peers. Autism MATES works closely with those it connects with to develop self-esteem and confidence while educating the wider community.

In 2020, Christina Stephens was founded by Brisbane-based former energy expert turned fashion designer Jessie Sadler. The idea came after Christina’s mum - who always loved fashion - experienced a fall that left her with few options available to truly express her love for style and fashion. Christina Stephens exists to disrupt disability stereotypes. The brand's colourful and elevated designs, combined with smart innovations, have turned adaptive clothing on its head. It is a brand that allows people with disability, dexterity issues, and changing bodies to wear what they want, not what they're given.

August 18, 2023 — Clare Puki