'Northern Fashion Week x Disability Pride Month' Georgina's blog - TGA Mobility
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17th August, 2022

‘Northern Fashion Week x Disability Pride Month’ Georgina’s blog

In July, I got the opportunity to partake in Northern Fashion Week as a runway model. It was a day that marked my first ever time getting to be part of a fashion show and getting to go down that catwalk as a proud disabled model and wheelchair user was an incredible moment! Being a runway model wouldn’t be possible without the independence that my Whill gives me as it just wouldn’t have been possible for me to self propel in my old manual wheelchair up and down the runway.

One thing is for sure, the design of the sleek Whill does not look out of place on a catwalk. It was made for the runway. The modern look of this chair as always turned heads as it looks nothing like you expect a wheelchair to look. Different, fun, futuristic and clean cut. The design is simply classic and yet completely new and cool. Every fashion piece I got to wear that day, the Whill complemented and carried well. It glided up and down the laid out runway path seamlessly. It also got compliments from the other models who were accepting and genuinely interested in the chair, it’s a talking point! It gets other wheelchair users talking, especially about the omni-wheels which I can understand because they are pretty awesome and unique. Getting this chair three years ago now has been truly life changing and continues to help me live out my dreams. I did however have to turn down the speed on my chair so that I didn’t unknowingly go too quickly down the catwalk, or to me, ‘catwheel’. The choreographers and directors helped us all feel welcome and the whole place was accessible with some of the nicest disabled toilets. You may think that’s a weird thing to say but those who use disabled toilets will understand the pick ‘n’ mix luck with disabled toilets.

I am so grateful for the opportunity take part in a fashion event that was inclusive and diverse. I loved getting to wear so many gorgeous pieces by talented designers and I’m so happy that I got to share this experience with so many wonderful people. I always hoped that one day I would get the chance to be a runway model and now here we are! I feel so lucky…if younger me could see me now, she wouldn’t believe it.

I went across to Manchester on the Wednesday for rehearsals and then Friday was show day. It’s becoming more and more common to take a train trip to Manchester Piccadilly so its now a station I’m familiar and comfortable with. I’m aware of where the customer services and passenger assistance desks are located, as well as the lifts and disabled toilets. Overall, I find this station accessible and one I feel confident using which is a great feeling to have. From the station, I took a taxi to the location – the Whill fits perfectly into a standard black cab and takes the ramp with ease. On the way back I tried a different mode of transport: the Manchester tram system. I’ve used tram systems before so with the help of my wheelchair friend and fellow model, I was able to navigate Manchester’s tram system. I got a ticket, found the disabled access point to the trams located by a wheelchair on the ground which corresponds to a wheelchair on the tram door and it was as simple as that. I was straightforward getting on and off, using the lift up to station level, double checking someone knew to get the ramp onto the train for me and then home. Travelling as a wheelchair user can be anxiety and nerve inducing but its doable and possible.

This event happened to fall in July which is disability pride month. A celebration and a protest. Being disabled is hard, living in a world that still doesn’t think about equality, accessibility and representation for those with disabilities makes things even harder. There is still so much that needs to be done. I’m proud to be here as a queer disabled woman even if society tells us we shouldn’t. Slowly change is being created by those who are reminding society that were still here despite everything and pushing for that shift towards access and representation. But it’s still not often that you see disabled people within fashion or media which is why it was so great to be apart of an event that featured ten Zebedee Talent models over three days of fashions shows. We weren’t just a one time gimmick to tick a box, we were there as equal models. Representation in events like these aren’t just about the models. It’s the whole team. Disabled artists deserve the opportunities to be seen in all aspects within the fashion & media world, and in all aspects of life. When you don’t see yourself represented, it’s hard to feel accepted or accept yourself.

It’s time for change and that is what this month is about.

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