Australian Fashion Week slammed as wheelchair users struggle on the runway

The Four Percent


Australian Fashion Week is blasted for promoting ‘inclusivity’ on catwalks despite the final runway being barely accessible for wheelchair users

Australian Fashion Week organisers have been criticised for promoting ‘inclusivity’ yet making their final catwalk barely accessible for wheelchair users.

After the Future of Fashion event on Friday, during which multiple designers showcased their collections, model and Paralympian Rheed McCracken struggled to move his wheelchair on the runway, which was covered in shredded paper.

Confronting footage showed the decorative shreds becoming entangled in the athlete’s wheels, while other models continued their walk ahead of him.

Outrage: Australian Fashion Week organisers have been criticised for promoting 'inclusivity' yet making their final catwalk barely accessible for wheelchair users. Pictured: models Jessica Gomes (left) and Charlee Fraser (right) with Paralympian Rheed McCracken (centre) on Friday

Outrage: Australian Fashion Week organisers have been criticised for promoting ‘inclusivity’ yet making their final catwalk barely accessible for wheelchair users. Pictured: models Jessica Gomes (left) and Charlee Fraser (right) with Paralympian Rheed McCracken (centre) on Friday

While McCracken was dressed in P.E Nation clothing, the catwalk was a combined show and not overseen by any specific designer.

An onlooker shared the footage on TikTok, prompting one follower to say that such moments were ‘a common occurrence’ at fashion shows.

‘Fashion shows that think accessibility doesn’t match the runway aesthetics need to stop. This is a common occurrence,’ they wrote.

Another added: ‘I love what they are trying to do, trying to include everyone, but [it] unfortunately just wasn’t executed well on the organisers’ part.’

Hazard: After the Future of Fashion event on Friday, during which multiple designers showcased their collections, McCracken struggled to move his wheelchair on the runway, which was covered in shredded paper

Poorly planned: Confronting footage showed the decorative shreds becoming entangled in the athlete's wheels, while other models continued their walk ahead of him

Hazard: After the Future of Fashion event on Friday, during which multiple designers showcased their collections, McCracken struggled to move his wheelchair on the runway, which was covered in shredded paper

Impractical: McCracken struggled to navigate through the shredded paper on stage

Impractical: McCracken struggled to navigate through the shredded paper on stage 

Criticism: An onlooker shared the footage on TikTok, prompting one follower to say that such moments were 'a common occurrence' at fashion shows

Criticism: An onlooker shared the footage on TikTok, prompting one follower to say that such moments were ‘a common occurrence’ at fashion shows

Unimpressed: 'Showing disabled models isn't inclusivity unless it's accessible for them as well,' one TikTok user commented

Unimpressed: ‘Showing disabled models isn’t inclusivity unless it’s accessible for them as well,’ one TikTok user commented

‘Showing disabled models isn’t inclusivity unless it’s accessible for them as well,’ a third TikTok user commented.

Another model in a wheelchair struggled with the same set design, prompting kaftan designer Camilla Franks to come on stage and help push her through the paper.

A guest at Fashion Week told Daily Mail Australia: ‘It was so nice of Camilla to help out, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

‘The directors clearly wanted to look inclusive, but didn’t take any actual measures to [make the runway] fully inclusive.’ 

Helping hand: Another model in a wheelchair struggled with the same set design, prompting kaftan designer Camilla Franks to come on stage and help push her through the paper

Helping hand: Another model in a wheelchair struggled with the same set design, prompting kaftan designer Camilla Franks to come on stage and help push her through the paper 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Australian Fashion Week organisers for comment. 

While McCracken did not address the incident, he later spoke of his pride at having taken part in the event, writing on Instagram: ‘Future of fashion runway done.’

Australian Fashion Week concluded on Friday, with high-profile guests including Jodi Gordon, Zac Efron’s ex Vanessa Valladares, Tammy Hembrow and Jodhi Meares. 

Eyewitness: 'It was so nice of Camilla to help out, but it shouldn't have happened in the first place,' a guest at Fashion Week told Daily Mail Australia

Eyewitness: ‘It was so nice of Camilla to help out, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place,’ a guest at Fashion Week told Daily Mail Australia 

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