By Sarah Francis
A stunning woman has become the first model in a wheelchair at a Ukraine fashion show.
Alexandra Kutas, 23, who was born paralysed from the waist down has won a fight with the industry after facing years of discrimination.
Early this month, the beautiful brunette graced the prestigious cat walk at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Days in Kyiv. [Feb 3rd]
She starred as the face of the show for renowned fashion desginer Fedor Vozianov in Ukraine’s first runway dedicated to a model with a disability.
It also premiered the world’s first fashion video featuring a model in a wheelchair.
Alexandra, who lives in Dnipro, Ukraine, said: “It was my first time working on this scale, but the overall mood was one of curiosity and creativity.
“During the shoot the team and I felt a spark, so that even though we were working for eight hours, no one felt it at the time.
“There was a lot of preparation beforehand, and postproduction work, after but the shooting itself is my favourite part, I enjoyed the process and the feeling of being even more alive.”
Because of a spinal cord birth injury, Alexandra has never been able to walk.
But at the age of 18 she was snapped up for her first model shoot and has been modelling professionally for the last two years.
The model met with designer Fedor Vozianov through a friend who shared her vision for diverse representation in the fashion industry.
Their artistic vision for the show included a custom chair designed to highlight her strengths as a model.
Alexandra, a disability access advisor, said: “I want people to see me first as a professional, and only after afterwards notice I’m in a wheelchair.
“I would like to be represented by an agency and work full time as a model, to show the world what I’m capable of.
“I would love to live in a world where people with disabilities are judged by their hard work and talent, not by some physical limits.
She added:”The audience reaction so far has been almost universally positive: in Ukraine there was so much interest we needed to hold two shows in a row, and news about my show recently spread virally to China and Taiwan.
“It seems people around the world appreciate what I’m doing, and I’m really grateful for that.”
For the inspiring young woman, the next goal is to be on cover of Vogue.