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Designer Camilla Franks finally addresses Australian Fashion Week controversy

Camilla Franks faced a backlash after wheelchair-bound models struggled to get down the runway during an ‘inclusive’ presentation at Australian Fashion Week in June. 

Franks took the brunt of the criticism over the Future of Fashion showcase, which also featured clothing from Pip Edward’s label P.E Nation and 16 other designers.

The 45-year-old raced onto the runaway when she saw her model, Lisa Cox, get stuck, unable to move her wheelchair, and pushed her through. 

Backlash: Camilla Franks (pictured) faced a backlash after wheelchair models struggled to get down the runway during an ‘inclusive’ presentation at Australian Fashion Week in June.  But the whole debacle should never have happened, Camilla now admits

But the whole debacle should never have happened, Camilla now admits. 

‘When the hiccup happened, my heart sank,’ the kaftan queen told Stellar Magazine on Saturday. 

‘I looked at Lisa and just jumped on that runway. There was a real sense of inner strength between us, and we felt like two squealing children up there together.’

Help needed: The 45-year-old raced onto the runaway when she saw her model, Lisa Cox (pictured), get stuck, unable to move her wheelchair, and pushed her through

 Help needed: The 45-year-old raced onto the runaway when she saw her model, Lisa Cox (pictured), get stuck, unable to move her wheelchair, and pushed her through 

'When the hiccup happened, my heart sank,' the kaftan queen said on Saturday. 'I looked at Lisa and just jumped on that runway. There was a real sense of inner strength between us, and we felt like two squealing children up there together.' Lisa is pictured in Stellar Magazine

‘When the hiccup happened, my heart sank,’ the kaftan queen said on Saturday. ‘I looked at Lisa and just jumped on that runway. There was a real sense of inner strength between us, and we felt like two squealing children up there together.’ Lisa is pictured in Stellar Magazine

‘Of course, it was a shame that it happened – it was not okay that the runway was not accessible,’ she added. 

Camilla went on: ‘IMG Focus and Fashion Week stuffed up; they acknowledged it and there have been a lot of learnings.’

She went on to say her ‘gooey heart’ was hurt but the backlash and model Lisa, ‘held her hand through it all’ and taught her how to be a ‘true warrior’. 

'Of course, it was a shame that it happened ¿ it was not okay that the runway was not accessible,' she added. She went on to say her 'gooey heart' was hurt by the backlash and model Lisa 'held her hand through it all' and taught her how to be a 'true warrior'

‘Of course, it was a shame that it happened – it was not okay that the runway was not accessible,’ she added. She went on to say her ‘gooey heart’ was hurt by the backlash and model Lisa ‘held her hand through it all’ and taught her how to be a ‘true warrior’

‘Unlike other brands, we’ve got extended sizes – from 2X small to 4X large… we’re passionate about de-gendering fashion and coming together as a rainbow family. 

‘So it was frustrating to have to deal with trolls for weeks on end over something we had no control over’.   

At the Future of Fashion event, 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.

Outrage: At the Future of Fashion event, 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.  Pictured: models Jessica Gomes (left) and Charlee Fraser (right) with Paralympian Rheed McCracken (centre) on Friday

Outrage: At the Future of Fashion event, 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.  Pictured: models Jessica Gomes (left) and Charlee Fraser (right) with Paralympian Rheed McCracken (centre) on Friday

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

Model Lisa was also trapped, and Camilla had rushed on stage 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.

'Unlike other brands, we've got extended sizes ¿ from 2X small to 4X large... we're passionate about de-gendering fashion and coming together as a rainbow family. So it was frustrating to have to deal with trolls for weeks on end over something we had no control over' Camilla said

‘Unlike other brands, we’ve got extended sizes – from 2X small to 4X large… we’re passionate about de-gendering fashion and coming together as a rainbow family. So it was frustrating to have to deal with trolls for weeks on end over something we had no control over’ Camilla said

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

The show resulted in widespread backlash, with critics online insisting that ‘showing disabled models isn’t inclusivity unless it’s accessible for them as well’. 

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

Read more: In this week's Stellar Magazine with Lisa Cox on the cover

Read more: In this week’s Stellar Magazine with Lisa Cox on the cover 


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