Born in Memphis, TN, where her father was a performing and recording artist and her mother, an engineer and veteran, Jamila McDaniel emerged.
Her family moved to Orlando Florida after her mother took an engineering job here.
Jamila began her love of fashion at an early age, playing dress up with her parents clothing.
She began in her father’s footsteps as a performing artist, but her passion for fashion, eventually won her over, for more reasons than your average designer.
As Jamila poured through the endless educational opportunities in fashion, (a 3 trillion dollars industry!) she decided on becoming a designer for a very special reason… Necessity is the mother of invention.
As there are seemingly endless fashion choices for average sized people, Jamila faced a very unique fashion experience
Jamila was born to normal size parents, but as it turns out, she only grew to the height of 4’ 2”.
Jamila has never known what it’s like to simply go out and buy clothing off the rack like the rest of us. Although there are some items that work, alterations are frequently necessary.
During college, Jamila began to research her condition and was thrilled to find an organization that addressed the needs and concerns of the short or small statured called “Little People of America” (LPA, https://www.lpaonline.org/).
Finally, she was able to meet many beautiful people, who were small like her!
“Small Statured” is her preferred term and by many people under 4’ 10”. Some are effected by a medical condition called “Dwarfism”, with disproportionate limbs, while other little people have normal proportions, but are just smaller in size.
Little People are considered to be rare, with about 200,000 in the USA and over 5 million people worldwide.
This condition is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and can be accompanied by medical problems, as is the case with Jamila.
Joining the “Little People of America” organization has allowed Jamila to connect with sewing members, who have dedicated their lives to altering clothing for the uniquely sized members of their community.
Through national gatherings, Jamila has been able to connect with others who share her experience and perspective of their demographic, the fashion industry ignores.
Despite the internationally agreed upon “standard sizing” guidelines put out by the fashion industry, there are no algorithm categories for “Little People” who are 6 or more inches under the industry standard size of “petite” and 4’10” or under by medical definition.
It’s a challenge for these child sized adults to find age and style appropriate clothing designs, which has created a unique niche and opportunity for Jamila.
After finding resources and seeing the void she opened her mind and creativity as an artist to the endless possibilities of filling the gap.
As the daughter of creative parents who’ve lived their lives through art and design, Jamila’s vision of the future is bright. Her self inspired gift to the Little People of the world, will spread far and wide. She’s creating the change she wants to see in the world.
If you’re a Little Person or know any, we’d like to invite you to take or share this survey to help us collect data that will help more clearly define the needs.
If you’d like to help Jamila with this project Orlando Fashion District is helping her find fit models, grants, funding, partners, sponsors, goods and/or services.
Article Written by Gina Vincenza, Founder, Orlando Fashion District, Gina@OrlandoFashionDistrict.com