When Izzy Keane of Dublin, Ireland, goes out in public, she wants her bubbly personality to shine from everything she’s wearing — including her wheelchair.
Izzy was born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down. While she’s never had a problem with her wheelchair, she’s always wished it had more flair and color. That’s the inspiration behind Izzy Wheels.
Wanting to personalize her wheelchair but frustrated by the lack of options, Izzy decided to create a solution herself with her sister Ailbhe’s help. At the time, the latter was studying art and design. So, for one of her college projects, she designed a line of stylish wheel covers. And the response was overwhelming!
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The sisters were flooded with positive messages and requests for custom covers, so they decided to keep creating! In 2017, they opened their online store, Izzy Wheels. Since then, they’ve collaborated with 50 artists and fashion designers, regularly adding fresh designs to their collection. And they’ve brightened up wheelchairs in 35 countries, including the U.S.!
From everyday wear to wedding attire, these covers are opening up a world of possibilities to wheelchair users who love fashion — and promoting inclusion.
“[The wheel covers] reinforces the message to the world at large that diversity is beautiful,” Izzy said.
And for Izzy, the difference in the way people treated her was night and day!
“It was absolutely crazy that the very first day I wore my Izzy Wheels — people no longer looked at me with pity! Strangers were complimenting me on how good my wheelchair looked,” she said.
“We are creating more than colorful wheel covers, we are creating a movement,” Ailbhe added. “When a user is wearing colorful Izzy Wheels they are a conversation starter. They act as an icebreaker and address the wheelchair in a positive way.”
What a beautiful way to empower self-expression! As the company’s motto goes, “If you can’t stand up, stand out!” You can check out more Izzy Wheels designs here.
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