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A New Model: Fashion Honors Autism

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Fashion Honors Autism is a 501(c)3 non-profit that launched in 2017 as a simple idea. Joshua Bolen, president and CEO, coupled his two passions as an autism advocate and model, creating Fashion Honors Autism to instill confidence and provide resources for children and teens living on the autism spectrum.

It is through the organization’s workshops and annual fundraiser, the black-tie charity fashion show, that their mission is carried out: to partner with local fashion communities to empower youth living with autism spectrum disorder to live happier, healthier lives.

Fashion Honors Autism’s unique sensory fashion workshops provide environments that tackle common issues children living on the spectrum may face, including:

• Self-image and isolation-based issues that can arise as they grow up with the disorder.

• Confusion and misinterpretation of sensory needs as “bad behavior.”

• Personal development.

In its sensory fashion workshops, FHA staff and model mentors work on solutions to these common issues by exposing participants to careers in the fashion industry that may interest them and offering one-on-one mentor relationships with professionals in the industry. 

It was through Joshua’s personal experience that he was able to create a program that enables the model mentor to develop a trust and bond with their mentee. The mentor then coaches the mentee how to walk, how to pose, and how to be confident in a photo shoot. And it all culminates when they walk the runway in the annual charity event.

FHA’s program is completely free to participants, funded solely by grants and donations. Visit for information about sponsorship, volunteer opportunities and ways to donate, and follow