Image obtained from Izzy Wheels depicting the two founders of the brand: Izzy and Ailbhe Keane.
When you hear the word “wheelchair” what’s the first thought that comes to your mind? Some associate the word “wheelchair” with confinement or restriction, but for others it means freedom and a fashion choice. This is the inspiring story of the two founders of Izzy Wheels, Ailbhe and Izzy Keane who created a company that offers designer covers for wheelchairs.
Izzy Wheels is one of many examples of brands that are bridging the gap between fashion and disability, and inspiring individuals to share their stories and spark the conversation on the lack of representation that there is in the industry. Being inclusive is not about being similar, it is about emphasizing differences and uniqueness to create communities where everyone can make a powerful statement about themselves without having restrictions. By giving individuals the freedom to transform their wheelchairs from being a medical device to a colorful chair that provides confidence boost and radiates positivity, Izzy Wheels not only encourages self-expression but it gives people the opportunity to decide the unique impression they desire for their day. Customizing your wheels can communicate as much meaning as any outfit can through the designs, patterns, colors, and more, and with all the artistic and creative talent there is the world, this is an extraordinary opportunity for others to become involved in bridging this gap. There are countless gaps that have to be fixed to make the fashion industry more accessible, but personalization is a tool all individuals should have access to in order to stand out, whether this is for a social event, college, daily life, or a business meeting. These steps can guide our society to believing that we are all created equal, but we are not the same. At the end of the day, what matters the most is that differences should be acknowledged, respected, and make everyone feel one-of-a-kind and empowered, instead of confined or restricted. It all comes down to making the best out of every situation you are given, and just like Izzy Wheels states, “If you can’t stand up, stand out.”