Trinity Faith Moran has always been into fashion. "Since she was little, she's always loved dress-up and makeup and heels, and she's always said she wants to be a model when she grows up," her mother, Kimberly Rasmus, recalled.
But lately Trinity has had other things on her mind. The 11-year-old from the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills has been battling a rare form of aggressive cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma for the last nine months. After she finished chemotherapy and radiation, a scan last month revealed multiple tumors that have resisted treatment.
When the Make-A-Wish Foundation heard about Trinity's love for fashion, they put her in touch with Naeem Khan, the designer whose lavish beaded gowns are favorites of first lady Michelle Obama and Texas socialites. Khan invited Trinity to be a front-row guest at his New York Fashion Week show and walk the runway with him.
"When this opportunity came, she said, 'I want to do a fashion show, but I want a real fashion show. I want to have models in it, I want to have a designer design clothes for me, I want it to somewhere where fashion is known,'" Rasmus said. "And here we are, and it's amazing. It's actually more than we could have ever dreamed."
Trinity and her mom flew to New York, and the day before the show, the young woman and Khan sat on the floor of his studio and drew sketches of the outfit she would wear: a red gown — her favorite color — with intricate beading that matched the designer's fall collection. His team worked all night to hand-stitch the custom gown so that it would be ready for the runway.
On the day of the show, Trinity sat proudly in the front row, where she posed for photos with celebrities like Willow Shields, the 15-year-old who plays Primrose Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies.
"I'm really nervous, but at the same time I'm excited and happy," Trinity said as the show was about to begin, adding that she loved the creative aspect of fashion. "You can go bold, you can go light and do really anything you want to."
What was it like to meet Khan? "It was really scary, but at the same time really cool. I was shy and nervous, but I got to design my own dress and help him. It was actually really fun," she said.
At the end of the show, Khan grabbed Trinity's hand as he made his runway bow. She walked the long catwalk with the elan of a seasoned pro. She waved to the audience, which erupted in applause, as photographers snapped away.
Afterward, backstage Khan said partnering with Make-A-Wish and GLAM4GOOD, a nonprofit organization that encourages positive social change through style (and founded by Mary Alice Stephenson, who styled Khan's runway show), proves that "the fashion industry definitely has a platform, and you can make a statement."
"Trinity is an amazingly sweet human being," Khan said. "I love it that she's from Texas, but the priority was to a wish come true of somebody who loves fashion. I just feel you have to give back."