Saturday, March 28, 2015

OTMommy spOTlight on: IZ Adaptive, Where Fashion Meets Function

In the world of fashion, the needs of those with disabilities are overlooked.   But IZ Adaptive is working to change that.  
IZ Adaptive Logo
I was recently drawn to an advertisement for IZ Adaptive on social media.  It is a fashion line that focuses on the unique needs of those using wheelchairs, taking into consideration comfort, function and current fashion trends.   
Separating Biker Jacket for Men from IZ Adaptive
One of my favorite pieces is the Separating Biker Jacket for Men retailed at $449.   The way the cuts accentuate the shoulders while ensuring the ease of donning and doffing is gorgeous! 
Founder Izzy Camilleri is a well-established Canadian fashion designer, whose designs have been photographed on the likes of Meryl Streep, Kirsten Dunst, and Fergie.  But after meeting with Journalist Barbara Turnbull, who happened to be a high level quadripalegic, she began on a new venture that took her creativity rolling in a different direction. In 2009, she began to focus her talents on addressing and dressing men and women with disabilities.  In an email based interview, Ms. Camilleri took analysis of the unique needs of her new clients stating,"I had no idea that someone who used a wheelchair had different clothing needs.  It was a very eye opening experience on many levels."
Women's Tear Away Pant from IZ Adaptive
Women's Tear Away Pant retail $59 offer a a higher back and bulk-free front.
She had to consider topics that traditional fashion designers and people in general take for granted.  For example, skin integrity is an important issue for people with decreased or absent sensory awareness, such as in spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and Lou Gehrig Disease.  When fabric bunches and moisture build up, friction, heat, and sores can occur.   She also had to consider how the act of getting dressed and undressed can be helped or hinder by the type and placement of fasteners.
Open Back Jeans from IZ Adaptive
Open Back Jeans retail $79 offer easy donning wrap around panel with velcro strip.
With ideas in hand, IZ Adaptive was born. Ms. Camilleri uses fabrics that are soft to the touch and that have stretch to them allow for ease of donning and breathability.  In some of her designs she made zippers longer or used magnets instead of traditional buttons since standard buttons and zippers can be a significant struggle for those with fine motor difficulties.
Men's casual magnet shirt from IZ Adaptive
Men's Casual Magnet Shirt, currently on sale $29.99 uses magnets for easy fastening and an A line cut for a flattering fit.
There are pieces to fit every budget and need.  Her line includes informal apparel, work apparel and evening wear with prices ranging from $9.00 Knees Together Strap to a $650 Wedding gown.   Dress shopping in itself can be difficult, for any woman, physically and emotionally.  Women who use wheelchairs can visit the website and discover pieces in which they can feel beautiful and comfortable for the upcoming prom and wedding season.  Ms. Camilleri hopes to further expand the evening wear selection. Even browsing is made easier because each item is detailed with information tabs on fabric choices, care, and function.
Grace Strapless Gown from IZ Adaptive
Grace Strapless Gown retail $375
At this time, expanding the line to include other cut designs so that people with other physical impairments such as limited range of motion and limited strength is not in the works.  But that's ok since IZ Adaptive offers specific alterations through their website.  Custom designing is also available to those in the Toronto area and is priced according to the project and level of difficulty. 

Many of her other designs have been featured in international magazines like Vogue and Flare.  When asked about ever seeing IZ Adaptive designs in the spotlight, Ms. Camierelli said, "We have had our IZ pieces used in Fashion Magazines on high fashion models.  They were used in a different context of high fashion on able bodies models.  We are already seeing alternative models on runways during this past Fashion Week in NY, so I think we will see more and more exposure for fashion going to the next level."

So if you know someone who happens to use a wheelchair and is looking for clothing that fits their style and budget, as well as their seated posture, consider looking into IZ Adaptive, where fashion meets function.

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