In 2007, clothes designer Heidi McKenzie was paralyzed in a car accident, but that hasn’t stopped her from making her mark in the world of fashion. She participated in Ms Wheelchair Kentucky in 2012, and started her own fashion business catering mainly for disabled women. Her clothes brand, Alter Ur Ego, makes designer jeans for women (and men) in wheelchairs which are not only fashionable but also practical.
On her website, McKenzie states that she designs clothes for wheelchair users which are both functional and fashionable, so that those with disabilities can express their true selves, through fashion and not feel socially excluded..
She was inspired in this mission by the fact that adaptable clothing is difficult to find, especially if you want to look stylish and follow fashion. People with disabilities should have just as many dressing options, says McKenzie, which means that these adaptable jeans are just the start of a clothing line with all the function and fashion for someone in a wheelchair.
McKenzie has gone into partnership with another disabled woman, a designer named Kristin Alexandra Tidwell, (both shown in photo) to create the jeans, and at present they sell for $80 per pair. McKenzie says that her original plan was to have a retail store, but when she realised that although she was in a wheelchair, she could easily run her business online, she was determined to go ahead with the plan. She was frustrated to find that most adaptable clothing is geared towards the elderly, but she was determined to change this by designing something chic as well as functional.
The hope is that these jeans will give wheelchair-users more confidence, besides helping them in a practical sense. They are made of Spandex, have a catheter opening, large side pockets, and a high-waisted back, besides a tummy-control panel. McKenzie is planning to go on to create dresses, blouses and jackets for the disabled, to help give them more independence and confidence. She says: “Disabled people tell me they haven’t been able to wear jeans for years, as they are unable to find any that work for them properly. I hope that these clothes help to break down social barriers.”
Picture courtesy of www.mashable.com