JA 18 Under 18


LEAH HOWARDSome kids play dress up with dolls. Leah took it a step further, turning her passion for designing outfits for toys into a career in fashion. At age 10, Leah presented a collection for young women at Baltimore Fashion Week. It was so successful she launched her company, Adaptive Style, which creates one-of-a-kind fashions for people with disabilities. Motivated by her own experience living with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and lupus, Leah is committed to bringing both form and function to her designs.

In 2019 she made the dress worn by Miss Wheelchair America at her crowning ceremony. Always one to address a community need when she sees it, Leah began another business, Leah Faith Photography, to offer affordable professional photography services to local ministries and nonprofits. She recently expanded into real estate and event photography. Described as “the epitome of a servant leader,” Leah helps her family operate a mobile food pantry and has done other outreach in food-insecure communities. Leah was homeschooled through high school and dual enrolled at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), where she is now, at 17, a full-time student. She is a 4.0 student, a member of Delta Alpha Pi (an honor society that recognizes students with disabilities), a participant in CCBC’s Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Fellows internship program, and president of the photography club.

“Despite the challenge of living with chronic illness, Leah continues to change the fashion industry, making it more equitable and diverse and taking her company to the next level.” — Ann-Marie Thornton & Jodi Neal, nominators

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