Nordstrom's choice of models in new catalog drawing national attention -- and praise

SEATTLE -- The Seattle-based Nordstrom catalog is garnering quite a bit of attention. But it's not because of extravagant items for sale.

It's because of the models.

“It really shows that we are just like everybody else,” said Deb Witmer, a member of the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities.

Inside the catalog, four models with disabilities are all displayed prominently, all showcasing this fall’s latest fashions.

“We think they look beautiful. And for us, our customers are unique and diverse and very individual and so for us to feature people who look different in a variety of ways, we are really just reflecting who we serve every day in our stores,” said Nordstrom spokeswoman Tara Darrow.

On page 17, a woman who was born without an arm shows off a beautiful fall coat.

Turn to page 34 and you see a female model who suffers from MS and is wheelchair-bound.

There’s also an adorable little girl with Down syndrome.

And one who’s getting a lot of attention on page 86 – a veteran who fought in Afghanistan and lost his leg. In the ad, he shows off some Nike shoes, with the help of his prosthetic leg.

“What makes it interesting and unique is that when a customer looks at the catalog, they’re just seeing themselves," Darrow said. "We don’t do anything to go out of the way and highlight that these people are disabled. They’re just normal people and we feature them and they look fantastic in the book."

Darrow said this is nothing new for Nordstrom and that the company has been hiring models with disabilities since 1997.

But this year, the catalog is getting a lot of national attention -- and a lot of praise.

“It’s a sign that they understand their customers include people with disabilities who spend their money and buy consumer goods just like everyone else does,” Witmer said.

One woman posted this on Nordstrom`s Facebook page: "I am so proud of Nordstrom for using models with a wheelchair and a prosthetic limb in the catalog ... it`s time that it goes mainstream!"