For the first time in Australian fashion history, running commentary via Audio Description for people who are vision impaired will be part of five Perth Fashion Festival (PFF) shows this year. New methods of communication have changed the way Australians create, access and participate in arts and culture and Audio Description is one of these initiatives.
Audio Description refers to an additional narration track on visual media (including television, film, dance, opera and visual art) for consumers who are blind or vision impaired. It consists of a narrator speaking throughout the presentation, scribing what's happening on the stage during natural pauses in dialogue.
Headphones for Audio Description will be available at Morrison, Myer Fashion Luncheon, Designer Capsule #3, Restyle on the Runway, and the exclusive VIP closing event, Giving Back is the New Black, making the Festival a revolutionary step for the fashion industry.
At Re-style on the Runway on Thursday 20 September, sisters Erin and Claire McGlew will strut their stuff down the runway with the help of their Guide Dogs, Ronnie and Swanee. The women will be styled in hair and make-up like all the other models and their dogs will be groomed to look their best.
“We’re so excited to be able to take part in Perth Fashion Festival, we’re proud to be a part of this big step forward for West Australians who are blind or vision impaired and we can’t wait to show off our style and our dogs on the Restyle runway,” said Erin McGlew.
This defining moment in fashion, a first in the southern hemisphere, will help to advance Guide Dogs WA’s primary mission to build confidence, promote wellness and help people who are vision impaired connect with the wider Western Australian community.
Perth Fashion Festival is dedicated to providing unique, imaginative programming initiatives for the Western Australia community, and this year the Festival will engage people who are vision impaired and give them the opportunity to experience fashion on a more interactive level.
PFF shares a working partnership with the Association for the Blind WA – Guide Dogs WA and will help raise awareness of Guide Dog access rights and mobility services for people who are vision impaired.
"Association for the Blind WA - Guide Dogs WA is delighted to be a part of this year's Perth Fashion Festival in a way that will engage members of the community who have been previously unable to participate in the Festival. Cultural diversity is helping fuel innovation by bringing different insights to traditional practices, and Perth Fashion Festival 2012 is embracing these opportunities by offering the Audio Description feature at several of the events this year," said Dr Margaret Crowley, CEO, Association for the Blind WA.
"One of the key elements for me creating the Perth Fashion Festival was to make fashion accessible to all, and so it is my absolute pleasure to be able to join forces with Guide Dogs WA this year to increase community accessibility even further. Fashion is just as much about how an individual feels in the clothes they are wearing, as well as how they look. So I am delighted to be able to share this and open the Festival to an even wider audience," confirms Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan, Perth Fashion Festival Creative Director.