• Madeline Stuart and Jeremy Meeks (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
'Prison Bae' or 'hot mugshot guy', Jeremy Meeks, made his catwalk debut at this year's New York Fashion Week, where Australian model, Madeline Stuart who lives with Down syndrome, also launched her new fashion label.
Sam Carroll

16 Feb 2017 - 12:37 PM  UPDATED 16 Feb 2017 - 1:20 PM

For Jeremy Meeks - former felon and a mixed-race social media heartthrob - modeling in one of the world's most famous fashion shows signifies a dramatic turn of events and a very public career change. 

Released from prison in March 2016, Meeks now appears to have cemented his place in the fashion industry, making his first appearance as a runway model for designer Philipp Plein.

Meeks served a nine-year prison sentence from 2002 through 2011 for a grand theft conviction, before his arrest by California's Stockton Police Department for charges relating to street terrorism and resisting/obstruction of justice. 

The prisoner-model then shot to international attention after his mugshot, posted on the Facebook page of the Stockton branch, went viral, signing a modeling contract before serving a 27-month prison sentence.

Reaction on social media was largely positive, with people praising his transition from a difficult background to a potentially hugely successful career in the fashion industry.

Madeline Stuart, who lives with Down Syndrome, is also challenging perceptions about what fashion icons 'should' look like, after debuting her new label '21 Reasons Why by Madeline Stuart' at NYFW, with a collection set to be sold exclusively online.

Her label's name refers to both the additional twenty first chromosome that is a characteristic of Down Syndrome and the fact that she is turning 21 later this year.

Mirroring her own daily style, the designs were made with the intention of being perfect for wearing both during the day yet trendy and versatile enough to be worn for a night out on the town. 

Stuart first made her catwalk debut during the spring/summer NYFW 2015 show, becoming the second person with Down syndrome to model at the event, after American actress Jamie Brewer at the fall/winter shows in February 2015.

According to statistics from Down Syndrome Australia, the population of people with the disorder is over 13,000 with the rate of babies born at approximately 1:1,100.

Noelia Garella is Argentina's first preschool teacher with Down Syndrome
“I always feel good with the children. Their parents love me and the other teachers and principals I have had were wonderful.”