KEEPING IT REAL: Marisa’s Story, Part Four

Thu 06 Jul 2023

KEEPING IT REAL: Marisa’s Story*


By Marisa Conners

In this mult-part series, Marisa Conners shares her story with cerebral palsy and how she launched an inclusive women's fashion brand. Check out Part OnePart Two, and Part Three to catch up. 

What achievement are you most proud of and why?

I feel most proud of the launch of my inclusive womenswear brand. I participated in the inclusive fashion show at the high school in Cincinnati. This was my first-ever fashion show. During the show, I debuted my first adaptive clothing collection. I used the color yellow because yellow was the theme for the fashion show, meaning that we can accept inclusion, and it aimed to change the way the student body perceives people with disabilities.

I stunned the audience by wearing one of my collection looks, a daisy yellow patterned dress which is inspired by the 1960s, as I stood up from my wheelchair. That dress has a magnetic/Velcro closure on the back of the dress so it can help anyone easily fasten the closure that makes dressing much easier. I thought the closure would be a great idea for making stylish clothes more accessible. Clearly, the audience gasped, cried happy tears, and even loved my first collection. This was the best moment I ever experienced!

What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?

If my fashion business goes successful, I’m hoping to expand my company and open my own fashion studio and headquarters in my hometown (Cincinnati). My biggest dream is to participate in Runway of Dreams adaptive fashion show because I really want to help the organization keep its mission alive and make my dreams come true. I have so much hope for breaking barriers and promoting inclusion in the fashion industry.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I think it’s great advice to give my younger self — young girls with disabilities must learn to become successful entrepreneurs and they must do their best in their own skills and talents as much as I did.

What do you wish other people knew about what it's like to have cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is not a tragedy but it is just a common motor disorder. The disability causes other people to act differently based on their characteristics of CP. Every person with cerebral palsy must learn to do everything they love but it’s always not easy to adjust to their fulfilling and inclusive lives. I’m sure it would be pretty possible for some people with cerebral palsy to pursue a career or job that accommodates their significant needs. No matter what, people should make good decisions about what’s best for them.

You can follow Marisa on Instagram @marisaconners.fashionista, and check out her Inclusive Womenswear Brand, and Graphic Design account @marisaconnersgraphics

*Marisa's story is part of KEEPING IT REAL — a series of personal stories that will take you deeper into the lives of people with CP. Each person makes different choices based on what works for them, and we’ll showcase that — highlighting what life is like for them on a daily basis, what they care about, and the ways CP impacts them. 

The KEEPING IT REAL blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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