I am so happy to finally be able to publish this interview: an inspiring conversation with Italian entrepreneur Michela Trentin.
A pure honor to see that Italian luxury can also be inclusive, withuot losing its glamour and elegance.
I had the pleasure to first talk with her some months ago, thanks to an Italian Facebook group you read about, when I interviewed Francesca Mitolo (socialgnock – you should go and check this treasure group out!).
Michela is such a generous lady: she put me in touch with other incredible game-changers that should deserve much more space, light and popularity in every day, everyone’s, fashion choices.
Please enjoy the read of this story of friendship, courage and vision, and make sure VanityWheel is on your list, for your inclusive 2020 Christmas gifts!
The pictures shows 3 ladies on their wheelchairs. Each wheel is covered by a different VAnityWheel cover: from left to right, the first resembles a round old phone cover with numbers, the central one is colorful with squashed cans; the third one is carries the VanityWheel logo on a tile color background. All models are smiling, wearing jeans and a white t-shirt.
WHAT IS VANITYWHEEL AND WHO'S BEHIND IT?
VanityWheel is a brand that encompasses everything that is wheelchair-related. Born from Cinzia Chiarini and Michela Trentin’s minds, the story of VanityWheel is a story of friendship and a fierce passion for fashion. Cinzia and Michela have been friends for years, and have been in direct connection with the world of disability. Due to a car accident, Cinzia, has been a wheelchair user for over 25 years now but she has never abandoned the desire to feel and look beautiful, glamourous and sexy.
VanityWheel was born to keep this desire high and help turning the user’s wheelchair, into a stylish tool and accessory.
WHEN DID THIS ALL START?
This idea, like many ideas, was born by chance, during a friends’ dinner. We wanted to bring color and beauty where stereotypes made it all grey and dull.
Then we started a game: we thought of coloring the wheelchair and actually creating a whole fashion line.
We have analyzed the structure of the wheels and we have patented an easy coupling system, that allows the user to change the cover as simply as changing his/her outfit.
We have researched the most suitable, resilient and functional Made in Italy materials. We wanted our product to be beautiful, functional, accessible: we did not look just among existing accessories for the disability industry, but simply functional and fashionable ones, created to facilitate anyone’s life.
Following, our matching gloves and bags lines were born as well.
HOW AND WHEN DID DISABILITY TURN FROM BEING A WEAK POINT INTO BECOMING A BUSINESS STRATEGY?
We live in the country where fashion is a huge driver: we felt the need to make it accessible to “our” target as well.
Our goals have always been those to bring inclusiveness into fashion. For us, inclusiveness means respecting each person’s uniqueness. We believe that fashion, like life, cannot and must not stop: life doesn’t stop if you shift from walking to rolling. We speak to all these unstoppable people and we work hard to represent them as they deserve.
YOU HAVE BEEN FEATURED ON TV SHOWS AND MAGAZINES: WHAT IS THE REACTION FROM THE PUBLIC?
The most beautiful reaction is children’s: “Mom! Look at this beautiful pram !!”
Here we go: the confirmation we were, and still are, on the right path.
People are not used to seeing a “VanityWheel” wheelchair but when they do see one, praises are uncountable.
WHO IS YOUR MAIN TARGET?
Unstoppable women and men who live their wheelchair as part of their outfit: we imagine our VanityWheel covers become an everyday accessory like a hat, a bag, a pair of shoes.
We also have a wedding line for those spouses that care about each single detail, their wheelchair accessories included.
We discovered though, that this is not just a “vanity accessory”, it can become a sign of belonging: for teams, athletes or associations.
The picture shows a red sequins dress, a red leather jacket, a pair of red sneakers and a vanity wheel cover with cream color background and mouths in red lipstick. Background is an old dark wooden wardrobe.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT YOUR COLLECTIONS?
Our lines are original and inspired by current trends. We have a very special collection, the “Say it with the wheels” one, which contains famous quotes.
Do you know that we have artists and stylists designing for us as well?
And last but not least we’ve just come out with a luxury hand painted leather line.
The picture shows the 2 founders, white and blonde ladies, smiling at the camera. Cinzia on her wheelchair and Michela sitting on the chair left armrest. The background looks like a villa-style one. Both are wearing a black stylish outfit.
YOUR WHEEL COVERS MATCH THE CUSTOMER'S OUTFIT - DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL STYLIST IN YOUR TEAM AND HOW DID THIS IDEA COME TO YOUR MIND?
Cinzia Chiarini is the creative mind, she is behind the collections and is supported by our digital team, for all the molds development process. We have recently opened a collaboration with two stylists, one in the leather field and one in the fashion field, whose names will soon be revealed!
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO THE FASHION AND BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
Let’s open the path together: let’s cooperate with fashion brands, stylists and manufacturers contributing to celebrating inclusion of diversities and respect for life. We act as a real partner and messenger of fashion everywhere.
Can I pull a dream out of my drawer? Concept stores!