Fashion and Assistive Technology might seem like a bizarre intersection, but for most people with disabilities, it makes complete sense.
Adaptive clothing can help people with a variety of disabilities manage their clothing independently throughout the entire day. Just as there is a myriad of disabilities, there is also a myriad of adaptive clothing needs. You might need clothing that is easier to put on in a sitting position, that can accommodate limb difference, allow for medical device access, doesn’t require fine motor skills to interact with or offers smaller size options for adult styles of clothing. On top of these need related differences, the number of considerations increase exponentially when choice of adaptation comes into play like: magnetic vs Velcro closures; back, side and hidden access openings; designs that are toileting-friendly; provide seated comfort; offer step-in options; grant easy access points; or soft/sensory-friendly material types. All of this comes into play, many times, before the user’s sense of taste is even brought into the picture. That is why Where It’s AT is here with a current set of adaptive clothing options and vendors. That way, your clothes are not only functional for your needs, but are also the form of self-expression they should be.
This series included an accessories blog, and those items will differ from the items on this blog in that those items may be beautiful and fashionable, but they do still serve a specific assistive technology function. That will differ from this blog with is simply customizing the AT you use daily, and are therefore a part of your overall “look” for the sake of fashion and style alone! Our AT is necessary and lifechanging in use, but it can also be beautiful and make us feel beautiful and seen along with it, it may only require a little fashion intervention.
- A great option to customize your wheelchairs wheels would be to invest in wheel covers/spoke guards. Izzy Wheels and Physipro have great selections for wheel covers/spoke guards ranging from abstract art to Disney themes to car rims.
- Another option would be to buy some gorgeous Pushrim Covers from RehaDesign that come in black, green, yellow, blue, red, pink and purple! RehaDesign also sells spoke wraps in the same variety of colors, so your spokes can match your pushrims, can be complimentary to them, contrast for more visual interest or you can even buy a pack of multicolor spokes!
- PimpMyChair.com has a wide selection of options with products like light up caster wheels, gorgeous portable hand controls for driving, power chair light kits which not only give a fun glowing undercarriage effect, but are also pretty useful for visibility, waterproof LED lights that spin circles of color or Spoke Lights that use LED lights to project designs or custom text.
- Colours in Motion is a mobility company that designs and sells unique, colorful, and ultra-light wheelchairs through Rehabmart and through their custom chair request form.
- Future Mobility Products also sells wheelchairs in your choice of color.
- If you aren’t in the market for a new chair but still want a fresh color, you can always chat up your local car or motorcycle paint shop to see if they would be willing to tackle the job, or even DIY it by cleaning, scuff sanding and spray painting the metal components yourself, who knows, maybe you might want to practice your pinstriping prowess or apply cool bumper sticker grade stickers! This is a great option for customizing your walker, wrist crutches, canes or any other metal mobility aids.
- Patti + Ricky carries a number of options like customized canes in a wide variety of sizes (they even offer a painting kit) and cool vintage looking crocheted wheelchair wheel covers.
- Alleles offers some of the most beautiful above-knee prosthetic covers and below-knee prosthetic covers with intricate carvings and paint jobs.
- Steeper Group also offers waterproof prosthetic leg covers that you can make a direct request for.
- A Step Ahead’s technical and prosthetic staff can design and fabricate lower-limb prosthetic sockets with custom artwork or hand-paint tattoos on your prosthetic skin cover. They even customize American Girl Dolls with beautiful prosthetics to match the child who owns them.
- LIMB-art Ltd is another place offering lower-limb prosthetic covers, in beautiful designs.
- UNYQ has truly amazing futuristic looking lower limb prosthetic covers.
- If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Fred’s Legs offers sleeves that can be permanently laminated onto orthotic devices and sockets, or if your tastes change on a more frequent basis, you can buy some of their removable, washable prosthetic covers. They offer pediatric options and they even give you the ability to upload your own custom image!
- The Hero Arm from Open Bionics is a multi-grip prosthetic arm for below-elbow amputees of any age, with multi-grip functionality and some pretty impressive looks on its own, but if you are still looking for a more custom design, The Hero Arm also offers custom prosthetic covers with over 50 different colors, designs and textures, including Disney, harlequin, and mandala art pieces.
- Limbitless Solutions has historically worked exclusively with children with upper limb difference, but have recently expanded into working with adults as well, with an emphasis on veterans and first responders! Currently, Limbitless Solutions can only provide prosthetics through the clinical trial process. Parents or guardians can register for more information for their child at trials.limbitless-solutions.org and they are currently in the process of developing clinical trials for adults; you can keep up to date on upcoming trials (child or adult) by registering at the aforementioned registration link.