Iraqi para-athlete Zainab Al-Eqabi from Dubai walks Boss runway at Milan Fashion Week

Baghdad-born activist had her leg amputated after an undetonated bomb from the First Gulf War exploded in her garden in 1997

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Iraqi pharmacist, para-athlete, television presenter and disabled rights activist Zainab Al-Eqabi has made her runway debut.

The influencer, who lives in Dubai, walked the runway at Boss’s show for Milan Fashion Week on Thursday with supermodels Ashley Graham, Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell, who, along with rapper Future and TikTok star Khaby Lame, are the campaign stars for the fashion house.

“I am speechless for how amazing it felt! Beyond words…” Al-Eqabi wrote to her 1.6 million followers on Instagram, saying that it was an epic night and an honour to walk for Boss’ autumn/winter 2023 show.

Al-Eqabi has been documenting her trip to Milan through her Instagram Stories, with followers assuming she was attending as a spectator of the show. She told her followers to catch the live-stream of the show online, saying they were in for a “surprise”.

“We are done! Clap for me,” Al-Eqabi said, visibly elated on a video she posted after the show.

Baghdad-born Al-Eqabi was severely injured in 1997 after an undetonated bomb from the First Gulf War exploded in her family's garden. Her leg was later amputated after an infection.

Al-Eqabi moved with her family to the UAE in 2001 and, soon after, she created the Facebook group Disabled and Proud to help fight against the stigma people with disabilities experience on a daily basis.

After taking up swimming to help with back pain, Al-Eqabi decided to compete as an athlete in two triathlons in the UAE, as well as complete the Dubai Fitness Challenge in 2020. She also became the first amputee television host in the Middle East after presenting Yalla Banat on MBC1, a show that delves into issues facing the youth of the region.

Al-Eqabi’s debut on the runway was received with enthusiasm from the region’s fashion community. Lebanese stylist Cedric Haddad, and influencer and designer Karen Wazen, who lives in Dubai, commented and shared her post.

Boss also commented on one of her posts from the brand's official account: “Fabulous! Thank you for sharing this experience with us!”

Wearing a tan trench coat with black detailing, Al-Eqabi was dressed in a matching black turban and black buckled leather boots. The look followed the ethos of the rest of the autumn/winter 2023 collection that redefines ideas of empowerment while referencing Boss’ rich sporting roots.

Taking inspiration from famous pieces in the Boss archives, the fashion house deconstructed and reinvented the aesthetics for a younger generation. From loose-fitting to more sculptural silhouettes, the fabrics and proportion of Boss’ original power suit vary across the collection to provide more diverse options for people who want to feel empowered but unique.

This new interpretation of the power suit still feels authentic to the brand through the use of soft shades of charcoal, cream and brown, along with Boss’s synonymous colour palate of black, white and camel.

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Updated: October 13, 2022, 10:59 AM