Afterpay Australian Fashion Week organisers have come under fire one of its shows featured disabled models struggling to move in their wheelchairs.
The runway show was an IMG Focus production that featured both brands P.E Nation and Camilla.
The runway was covered in streamers, making it hard and at times impossible for the disabled models to move.
Videos of the runway have since gone viral, with both brands being criticised for failing to create an accessible runway.
A TikTok user captured the difficulties model and Olympian Reed McCracken at the fashion show.
The kaftan queen and designer for Camilla, Camilla Franks, ran onto the stage at her show when model Lisa Cox’s wheelchair got stuck in the streamers, according to Pedestrian.
Franks then pushed Cox in her wheelchair, so the model was able to get through the runway.
Megan Pustetto, host of the podcast Oh So Dramatic, called out the inaccessible runway on Instagram, accusing the brands of ableism.
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Franks responded to Pustetto on Instagram, claiming the designers did not produce the show.
“There was nothing on the runway at the rehearsal, and it was to our surprise to see it covered in streamers upon the doors opening,” she said.
“Shame on you for not celebrating an amazing moment and shame to any reputable publication that reposts this rubbish.”
Cox addressed the criticism on her own Instagram.
“To all concerned about my safety on the runway as I closed the finale at Australian Fashion Week last Friday, please refer to exhibit A above. As shown, I was safe and having the absolute time of my phucking life!”
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McCracken has yet to make a public comment about the backlash, but posted a photo of himself on the runway with the caption “future of fashion”.
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Disabled creator and influencer Keely B spoke with Fashion Journal about the incident: “It isn’t inclusive if it isn’t accessible for disabled people. I don’t want to see disabled people struggle to use their mobility aids. That isn’t [a] representation of disabled people.
“They also clearly knew it wasn’t safe, as the other model in the show needed to be pushed. But [they] still went ahead with the runway the way it was. They never actually cared about the disabled people in their show.”
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