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Hearing-impaired children's drawings featured in fashion show

It's couture with a playful twist.

Bright drawings of flowers, suns, moons, faces and more — all artwork by hearing-impaired children in Albania — were transferred to high-end gowns and accessories as part of a recent fashion show meant to raise awareness and funds for children like themselves.

Arbnor Allaraj
Media expert Ulpiana Lama took part in the fashion show, showing off a young boy's design on her dress.

The idea came from Gentian Minga, editor of Living Albania magazine, who teamed up with fashion designer Mirela Nurce to bring the students' drawings to life on the runway.

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Minga told TODAY that they collected artwork from deaf children because "visual is very important to them, not just as a form of art and creating, but most of all as a way of communicating feelings and messages."

Arbnor Allaraj
Albanian fashion blogger Irena Kita also walked the runway.

Those messages were positive vibes on Dec. 13, when Eastern-European celebrities and fashion designers walked hand-in-hand with young students, showing off their designs in the form of colorful dresses, and even umbrellas, shoes and jewelry.

Among the stars who supported the event was Emina Cunmulag, a well-known supermodel in the US with Albanian heritage.

Armand Habazaj
More of the children's artwork, modeled by Emina Cunmulaj.

"What we wanted to say with this project is that these children have so many abilities, so we don't have to focus on their disabilities," Minga said.

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The pieces from the show are being sold and profits will benefit the Deaf Pupils Institute in Tirana, Albania. Minga also hopes the event helped raise awareness of hearing-impaired children and young people who suffer from other disabilities.

Andri Allko
Singer Orinda Huta walks down the runway with one of the students.

Nurce, the designer who made the gowns, called the children "great creators."

"As an artist, I perfectly know what it is like to want to desperately express yourself and you cannot," she said. "So, I saw this as a perfect way to make these little artists feel appreciated and important."

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