Australian Fashion Week slammed as wheelchair users struggle on the runway

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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 blasted online for promoting 'inclusivity' yet making their final catwalk barely accessible for wheelchair users. Pictured: Rheed McCracken (centre) in P.E Nation for the show's finale

Outrage: Australian Fashion Week organisers have been blasted online for promoting ‘inclusivity’ yet making their final catwalk barely accessible for wheelchair users. Pictured: Rheed McCracken (centre) in P.E Nation for the show’s finale 

While Rheed 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 unfortunately just wasn’t executed well on the organisers part.’

Hazard: The shocking footage showed the decorative paper becoming entangled in the Paralympic athlete's wheels, while other models continued their walk ahead of him

Pictured: Rheed McCracken

Hazard: The shocking footage showed the decorative paper becoming entangled in the Paralympic athlete’s wheels, while other models continued their walk ahead of him

Impractical: The footage then saw Rheed's wheelchair turn the opposite way, as he tried to navigate through the bizarre shredded paper on-stage

Impractical: The footage then saw Rheed’s wheelchair turn the opposite way, as he tried to navigate through the bizarre shredded paper on-stage 

Not happy: A surprised TikTok user took to the site to share the footage, which no doubt caused mass uproar from fans

Not happy: A surprised TikTok user took to the site to share the footage, which no doubt caused mass uproar from fans

‘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.’ 

Disaster: A source told Daily Mail Australia that another model in a wheelchair struggled with the very same set design, with designer Camilla Franks heading on stage to help push her through the paper

Disaster: A source told Daily Mail Australia that another model in a wheelchair struggled with the very same set design, with designer Camilla Franks heading on stage to help push her through the paper

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

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

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

Insider: 'It was a disaster, and so nice of Camilla to help out but it shouldn't have happened in the first place,' a source told Daily Mail Australia

Insider: ‘It was a disaster, and so nice of Camilla to help out but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place,’ a source told Daily Mail Australia

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