Disabled models take to the catwalk in wheelchairs in Tokyo

Disabled model Ami Sano presents creations by designer Takafumi Tsuruta from his Spring/Summer 2016 collection for his brand Tenbo during Tokyo Fashion Week in Japan Tsuruta is well known for designing a line of outfits for all people, including those wi
  • The models were showing off designs for Takafumi Tsuruta's label Tenbo
  • Designer strives to create clothes with handicapped people in mind 
  • A disabled surfer, comedian and 3ft 7in painter participated 

Models in wheelchairs took to the catwalk at Tokyo Fashion Week on Tuesday as the Japanese capital became the latest to embrace diversity on the runway.

The models were showing off designs for Takafumi Tsuruta's label Tenbo during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The designer strives to create clothes with handicapped people in mind and called on disabled models to showcase his designs.

Disabled model Ami Sano presents creations by designer Takafumi Tsuruta from his Spring/Summer 2016 collection for his brand Tenbo during Tokyo Fashion Week in Japan

Tsuruta is well known for designing a line of outfits for all people, including those with disabilities, using items such as magnetic buttons for users to put and take off clothes easily. 

Among the models was French spinal progressive muscular atrophy patient, Alexandrine Naurice, who was pushed in a wheelchair down the runway by a male model to rounds of applause. 

Meanwhile, Taichiro Inote, who has mucopolysaccharidosis, was pushed in a wheelchair by his mother, Junko, during the show.

Disabled surfer, Yoshihiro Kojima, also participated in the show, as did comedian Yusei Terada and painter, Hitomi Goto, who is 3ft 7in (115cm) tall.

French spinal progressive muscular atrophy patient Alexandrine Naurice takes to the runway with a Japanese model as they display creations by the Japanese designer

French spinal progressive muscular atrophy patient Alexandrine Naurice takes to the runway with a Japanese model as they display creations by the Japanese designer

Taichiro Inote, a mucopolysaccharidosis patient, was pushed in his wheelchair by his mother Junko in the show at fashion week

Taichiro Inote, a mucopolysaccharidosis patient, was pushed in his wheelchair by his mother Junko in the show at fashion week

The designer strives to create clothes with handicapped people in mind

The designer strives to create clothes with handicapped people in mind

Disabled surfer, Yoshihiro Kojima, chats with a Japanese designer Takafumi Tsuruta during a rehearsal

Disabled surfer, Yoshihiro Kojima, chats with a Japanese designer Takafumi Tsuruta during a rehearsal

Born in Chiba, the capital city of Chiba Prefecture, Japan, Tsuruta studied at Bunka Fashion College and has worked for Co. HirokoKoshino and designed children's clothes for ODM.

It is great to see designers embracing disability instead of shying away from us as so many do - Models of Diversity 

He established his own label in 2003 and made his first appearance at Tokyo Fashion Week last year, using models in wheelchairs, a blind lady and female amputees to showcase his designs. 

Speaking to FEMAIL about the show, Gemma Flanagan, an ambassador for Models of Diversity, an organisation that campaigns for diversity on the catwalks, said: 'At Models of Diversity we are constantly campaigning for diversity within fashion and media both in the UK and worldwide.

'It is so great to see designers embracing disability and models with disabilities instead of shying away from us as so many do - especially on such a major stage as Tokyo fashion week. This shows that it can be done and it is wanted as other fashion weeks such as New York and Milan have also embraced models with disabilities.

'This is the reason we at Models of Diversity are currently campaigning to have models with disabilities correctly represented within fashion. Our #disabilityfight4fashionright petition has recently been launched, which is asking for the correct ratio of disabled models to be cast within fashion. 

'In the UK alone, one in six people have some form of disability, yet surprisingly in fashion there is nowhere near this representation. Our petition backed by government will call for this to be law and end the constant discrimination that modes with disabilities face.

'We applaud Takafumi Tsuruta and Tokyo fashion week, but we still need to see much more and that is what we hope to and will help achieve. We want it to be the norm and don't want any special treatment, we just want the same treatment for models with disabilities as any other models.'  

Japanese designer Takafumi Tsuruta (second from right) and models pose during the Tenbo show finale

Japanese designer Takafumi Tsuruta (second from right) and models pose during the Tenbo show finale

Tsuruta designed the line of outfits for all people, including those with disabilities

Tsuruta designed the line of outfits for all people, including those with disabilities

Comedian, Yusei Terada, took to the catwalk in his wheelchair as he displayed a creation designed by Takafumi Tsuruta

Comedian, Yusei Terada, took to the catwalk in his wheelchair as he displayed a creation designed by Takafumi Tsuruta

He called on models, including Hitomi Goto, left, a 3ft 7in tall painter, to showcase his new designsBorn in Chiba, Tsuruta studied at Bunka Fashion College and has worked for Co. HirokoKoshino and designed children's clothes for ODM

Born in Chiba, Tsuruta studied at Bunka Fashion College and has worked for Co. HirokoKoshino and designed children's clothes for ODM. He called on models, including Hitomi Goto, left, a 3ft 7in tall painter, to showcase his new designs 

Indeed, this isn't the first designer to use disabled models on the catwalk. The FTL Moda's AW15 show in Milan, which featured international designers with a 'Made in Italy' theme, showcased disabled models from all over the world alongside some of the industry's most esteemed clothes horses.

Named FTL Moda Loving You, the show was held in collaboration with Fondazione Vertical - an Italian foundation supporting research to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

London-based Models of Diversity, an agency that campaigns for greater diversity of modelling talent in the media and on the catwalk, was also involved. 

British personal trainer Jack Eyers became the first male amputee model to strut his stuff on the catwalk in the show. 

Disabled model Ami Sano sits on an electric wheelchair as she participates in Japanese designer Takafumi Tsuruta's show

Disabled model Ami Sano sits on an electric wheelchair as she participates in Japanese designer Takafumi Tsuruta's show

Tsuruta established his own label in 2003 and made his first appearance at Tokyo Fashion Week last year

Tsuruta established his own label in 2003 and made his first appearance at Tokyo Fashion Week last year

The designer used models in wheelchairs, a blind lady and female amputees to showcase his designs last year

The designer used models in wheelchairs, a blind lady and female amputees to showcase his designs last year

Painter, Hitomi Goto, who is 3ft 7in (115cm) tall, showcases a green ensemble in the show

Painter, Hitomi Goto, who is 3ft 7in (115cm) tall, showcases a green ensemble in the show

In March this year, Katie Piper, who had her dreams of being a model ruined when she became the victim of an acid attack instigated by her ex-boyfriend in 2008, launched the UK's first-ever fashion catwalk that included models with visible differences.

One lady, like Katie, was a sufferer of visible scars from burns and the pair met through Katie's charity foundation.

Launched at the Ideal Home Show, the show - called 'Confidence - The Secret' - aimed to challenge the conventional catwalk. 

Disabled model Ami Sano smiles backstageFrench spinal progressive muscular atrophy patient Alexandrine Naurice has her hair styled and make-up applied before taking part

Disabled model Ami Sano, left, and French spinal progressive muscular atrophy patient, Alexandrine Naurice, have their hair styled and make-up applied before taking part in Japanese designer's show

 

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By Tasha Smart 10/13/2015 11:12:00