Update: An OshKosh B'Gosh Company Spokesperson has since reached out to us with a statement in response to Nash's viral post:
OshKosh B'Gosh appreciates the importance of representing the diversity of our customers in our advertising. Since we became aware of Ms. Nash's request, our team has reached out to her directly to better understand her perspective and provide additional information about our casting process. We agree there is an opportunity for greater representation of children with special needs in advertising. We look forward to meeting with Asher and his family, as well as taking steps to enhance the representation of diverse children in our marketing.
A previous version of this story said that Asher was turned down at a casting call. His mother has since told us that she submitted photos to a modeling agency for an OshKosh casting, which never submitted them to Carters, Inc.
Original Story: Impossibly cute and charismatic 16-month-old Asher Nash is making his rounds on the internet because his mother, Meagan, is turning a negative experience into a positive message. When Meagan submitted photos of Asher to a modeling agency to be passed to OshKosh, the sweet boy was turned down by the agency, which told Meagan that OshKosh hadn't "requested a special needs baby."
After being denied, Meagan turned to the Kids With Down Syndrome Facebook page to share her story and ask a favor of the page's followers. "Let's make a difference — share so they see Asher," the post reads. "Let's find out how he can model for OshKosh B'gosh and show the world what he's made of!"
"I would love for OshKosh to meet my son and see what we see in him," Meagan told The Mighty. "I don't want them to use him because of this fuss we are making on the internet. I want them to use him because they value him and see how much he could contribute to their advertisement."
A few retailers have made changes in ad campaigns to represent children with disabilities — Target and Kmart both embraced inclusion in recent Halloween advertisements, and Tommy Hilfiger released a line of clothing for children with disabilities — but Nash wants companies to make bigger differences, to make inclusion the norm.
"Children with Down syndrome and other disabilities are incredible human beings, and we want OshKosh to want to help change the world's perception."