Wheelchair Fashion and Lifestyle Blog
After earning my Sport Pilot's License through Able Flight in 2015, I quickly realized that accessible general aviation options for disabled pilots were very few. It inspired me to create AV84ALL (Aviation for all) with the goal of providing more opportunities in general aviation for persons with physical and other disabilities.
Our goal with AV84ALL is to foster a community of disabled aviators and disabled aviation enthusiasts to participate in the mainstream world of general aviation through education, hands-on training, and inclusion, to overcome the many obstacles we face.
Recently, we have banded together for a common goal with EAA Chapter 1083, to build a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer in Salisbury, North Carolina. The EAA chapter members launched the Zenith build on September 10, 2016 at Rowan County Airport (KRUQ).
Rowan Area EAA Chapter 1083 was formed in 1993 and serves to encourage participation in aviation related programs, and to help others experience the thrill of flight. The chapter is committed to assisting AV84all.org with this build, and is looking forward to having a new flying club full of fellow builders, pilots, and enthusiasts in the area. EAA Chapter 1083 President, Jack Neubacher said, “When I was first contacted by Zenith about helping John with this special project, I felt it was a great chance to help with one of the most important missions of our chapter -- to encourage, educate and promote aviation for all.”
I'm excited about what the group build project will do for this organization. EAA Chapter 1083 is literally making a dream come true for AV84all.org. Without their help it would take a lot longer to get this project off of the ground and they are making flying for disabled people a reality. This group build project is the first step in allowing pilots with disabilities to form a flying club with a Zenith aircraft. Other future goals I have for AV84all.org include a ground school, trial flights, flight training, simulator sessions, and more.
Charles Stites, The Executive Director of Able Flight, is optimistic about the opportunities this project will establish for people with disabilities in many different areas. He said "It's wonderful to see this project come together, not as an Able Flight project, but as an initiative of someone who has been through our program. And it's especially gratifying that Zenith Aircraft, a company that also supports Able Flight, has generously chosen to work with EAA Chapter 1083 to help make this possible. I am hopeful that the success of this project will inspire similar efforts throughout the country."
Zenith Aircraft will provide an engineering review to help customize this Zenith CH 750 Cruzer to better fit the needs of the pilots with disabilities involved in this project. Sebastien Heintz, owner of Zenith Aircraft states, "One of the wonderful things about experimental amateur built airplanes is they can be fully customized by the builder to make it one of a kind. The new EAA Maker Edition of SolidWorks is a tool that will be used for the customization of the needed hand controls for this group build project. This computer-aided design software offers a huge advantage to the owner/builder/pilot when building their own aircraft, and especially for those who have a specific purpose in mind."
I encourage aviation enthusiasts to become a member of an EAA Chapter in their local area. EAA Director, Charlie Becker states, “EAA’s mission is to grow participation in aviation and our chapter network delivers on our mission in so many ways and what Chapter 1083 is doing is just another great example. Not only will the members of the chapter get to learn and build, but the finished aircraft will create a wonderful opportunity for pilots with disabilities.”
Help is needed to make this project a reality for all pilots with disabilities. Tax deductible donations are being accepted now for kit parts, tools, engine, and avionics for this project at www.av84all.org.
Connect with us on facebook to learn more about us and this project.
Posted onAs a special tribute to our third highest selling country (and almost half of our staff members), our outfit inspiration blog this month covers one of the most well known, modern Australian rituals, the barbecue.Backyard BBQ's are the social event of any summer; a comfortable, casual affair but your ripped old sweats won't quite cut it when your friends are serving up some new gourmet dish they were inspired to attempt after you gifted them that Jamie Oliver book last birthday. We put together some fail-proof adaptive outfit ideas for a simple and smart look from IZ and our favorite brands.Our new Slim Leg Chinos have a modern silhouette, and the cut is perfect for sitting at an outdoor setting all day (not to mention the elastic at the back of the waist for the second plate you might want to eat. No judgement). The tan cotton pants are complimented perfectly by a classic blue Denim Shirt. Sunglasses are also a must. We love this pair of aviators from Ray Bans. The finishing touch here is, quite obviously an Australian Wine. You can't go wrong with a drop from Yellow Tail.For effortless style, our Tunic Sweater has a length and cut that sits nicely on the thighs and a lightweight, ultra soft knit that works perfectly for an afternoon in the shade. Team it with your favorite pair of Slim Leg Jeans and a pop of color in your accessories. We chose Cairo Delicate Earrings from Julie Vos in turquoise and gold. Pack everything you need in this sustainable Claira bucket Bag from Nena & Co. The inter-changable strap means you can wear it ocross your body or on the back of your chair.
"I'm a young woman with a disability who has a passion for accessibility as well as fashion, because of this, I've started my own blog. I called it Wheelz and Heelz because I wanted to prove that people with disabilities don't just go to doctor's appointments- I discuss a wide variety of topics. This could be traveling, importance of accessibility/inclusion and fashion. It's something I want to do not just for myself, and the disability community, but able bodied people too, to give them understanding of my world.
I believe that in today’s society, everyone should be included, regardless of ability. No one should be told they CAN’T do something, go somewhere or look a certain way.
A few years ago, my sister saw a segment on CityLine about IZ. She recorded it for me. I recall like yesterday how excited I was because 'till that moment, I always had trouble not only finding clothes that fit me properly, but clothes that were stylish as well. Ever since that day, I've purchased many pieces from IZ. I could barely believe the IZ studio was so close to my house and I've been lucky enough to have appointments and meet the team.
My very first piece was a black dress for my sister’s wedding. It is gorgeous and fits me perfectly. It means a lot to me that this was my first piece because it was for a very special occasion. A little black dress is an essential for any fashionista and it’s something you will have for a long time. It will never go out of style, so it's worth investing in something that fits you well and makes you feel good - the benchmark of every LBD.
After the purchase of the dress, I went back to the studio to look at all the other pieces available. Someone from the IZ team asked me “What do you like?” And my response? “EVERYTHING!”. It was very hard to choose what do get, but I approached the process as though I was building a wardrobe from nothing, selecting a wide range of pieces with versatility that I could style my own way. After all, I really was starting over because for the first time I had pieces that made me feel good as well as look good.
Since then, over the years and a series of orders, I've acquired a wide range of pieces. Everything from skirts, tops, sweaters, pants to a parka which is an essential for where I live and something I never thought could fit me as well as it does.
Someone once asked me what my favourite IZ piece is and after a lot of consideration, I couldn’t pick one. All the pieces make me feel good. Not just physically, when I wear them, but also with the knowledge that there is a celebrated and awarded fashion designer out there who wants to create proper fashion for wheelchair users; pieces that don't just take into account proper fit and heath issues like skin integrity but they look better on me than standard fashion.
Kudos Izzy, kudos!"
Jenna Reed-Cote is totally badass. Her online alter ego and company- 'Phoenix Attitude' makes us want to get out there and get our hands (and the rest of us) dirty while conquering the toughest terrain. Her and her team 'Three Men & A Tough Little Mudder' recently completed a tough mudder - wheelchair and all. Impressed, we asked her to share a blog about the experience.
"Approaching one leg of our journey, the team found ourselves staring into the mouth of the forest - not a clear path in sight. Had a tornado just blown through?! There were sticks, logs, stumps and mud no matter which way we went (not ideal terrain for me and my chair). The three men (to my “Tough Little Mudder”) with the help of some other Mudders suggested that they pick me up (in the chair) and carry me all the way through. Nope! That was not going to happen. After getting so far, I was not going to have the boys try (especially on this terrain), have one or all of them step in the wrong place - leading us all to come tumbling down. So, after stalling (praying Arnold Schwarzenegger would roll through in one of his Hummers), I made the final call - I was bumming my way through the forest!
As soon as I got out of my chair and started with the actual “bumming,” I started thinking about whether or not “bumming” was even a word? And then I thought, “I hope that was just mud and not bear poop that I put my hand in.” Slowly but surely I made my way through the forest, bumming BACKWARDS so I could pull myself up and over things. Some times I would have to stand to get onto the the big logs to slide across to the other side. Some times I’d have to get back in the chair because the guys did have to lift me over certain areas (coming up with ingenious ideas along the way, like putting logs through my spokes and lifting me, like Cleopatra). At the very edge of the forest (on the OTHER side, because, yes, we did make it through), there was a near vertical wall of jagged rock that one had to traverse to make it back onto the trail. My reaction? Are there little children reading this…? Needless to say, my ego had to go out the window, letting a fellow Mudder, who just happened to be ex-Army, pick me up via the fireman’s carry to get me over the final hurdle - marking what was probably (only) the halfway point of Tough Mudder Half.
But why am I telling you this?
Why, out of all that makes up Tough Mudder, have I focused on my little foray into the forest? Because, my dear readers, the whole time I was merrily bumming my way along, I was hoping my gear would hold up. Now, when I say “gear,” I don’t mean my team shirt, and my pants because I was scared I’d end up with a big hole in the back, exposing my tush (although, that of course would have been bad). No, I mean my compression gear - shirt, pants and socks - that I wore UNDER everything that was made of medical-grade lycra and damn-near impossible to rip. You see, I have patch-sensation throughout my legs - some areas I can feel everything, and others…well, not so much. Had I not thought to protect my legs (before I even knew the forest was waiting for me), I could’ve gotten seriously hurt, possibly even realizing it too late. That’s just the reality of my situation - #paralysisproblems.
But I still wanted to be a Tough Mudder. Why? Because people with pretty serious medical challenges have a right to be daredevils, too! However, a daredevil with medical challenges can very quickly lead to a death wish, if they’re not smart about it. Sure, it’s annoying - scratch that - it’s freakin’ unfair a lot of the time, because you want to be spontaneous and follow your friends into the unknown. But you have to make it through one adventure (safe and sound), if you’re wanting to go on to the next.
In this case, based on all the sharp, dirty things that came into contact with my legs - my gear saved my life. Clothing has a lot to offer, it can make you feel: powerful, confident, vibrant, sophisticated, safe, fun, flirty, comfortable, normal etc. What I bet a lot of you don’t know, though, is that simple things can and need to be done to traditional clothing patterns so that people in wheelchairs get to feel all that clothes have to offer them - mind, body and spirit.
I want to celebrate all the designers out there who are tackling this niche market, creating clothes that let their wearers show the world who they are from the inside out! Let’s come together so that adaptive clothing industry explodes and becomes the ”norm,” giving us all an equal opportunity to feel: powerful, confident, vibrant, sophisticated, safe, fun, flirty, comfortable and normal (whatever that means)!
Follow Jenna's awesome adventures:
Posted onSadly, the tail end of summer is on it's way for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Before we mourn and start adding 'pumpkin spice' flavor to everything in sight, lets make the most of the warmer nights by experiencing the great outdoors with a camping trip. Camping no longer means roughing it with messy hair and old paint-stained clothes. It's a chance to reconnect with nature (and get some great Instagram content to make your city dwelling friends jealous, if you're that way inclined.) Whether seeking out the best accessible hiking trails or just making s'mores around a fire in your backyard, we've put together the ultimate Camping Trip outfits from IZ.Wearing our Straight Leg Cargo Pants is a no-brainer - but don't take our word for it, read this amazing quote from one of our favorite customers, Fred: "Living in rural Colorado the cargo pant is more of a necessity than a fashion statement. These pants are tailor made for the type of rugged outdoor activities that are the norm in the mountain west. The fabric is heavy enough to protect your legs and be durable enough to withstand the abuse of a multi day camping trip, but dries quickly if you get caught out in a mountain rain storm. The pockets are located so they are easy to reach and hold quite a bit. One is zippered so you can put valuables in it and not worry about losing them, while the other has a Velcro flap for those items that you need quick access to. The fit is spot on and they stay up through multiple transfers or while riding on an ATV. These are definitely my go-to pants any time I'm headed into the high country!"Team them up with our Heavyweight Plaid shirt that's perfect layered over a comfy tee with the sneaky functionality of side zippers. Finish the look with a nice boot - we like this pair from Timberland and don't forget to pack your camera to capture all the fun. This one's our favorite - Olympus OM-1.
You might already know our incredible Brand Ambassador, Christina. She's a Clinical Psych Grad, with a fun Instagram feed and the world's cutest Etsy store. This month, she's letting everyone in on her five favorite items from IZ Collection and just why she loves them!
Christina’s Top Five Picks:
Athletic Legging – I love these leggings firstly, because they are designed specifically for seated wearers. Secondly, these leggings can be worn with so many different looks, both casual and dressed up. My favorite pairs with these leggings are a flowing or cape-styled top, and either tall boots for fall/ winter or flats for spring/summer.
Dress Pant with Yoga Waistband – What could be better than dress pants with a yoga waistband designed specifically for seated wearers?! These are the perfect dress pants to add (hidden) comfort to a professional look.
Long Sleeve Open-Snap Back Tee – I love this shirt because it is a versatile and simple long-sleeve shirt, but with an intricate design that makes this shirt more than your everyday long-sleeve shirt. The A-line cut on this shirt allows the shirt to flow around the waist and stomach, reducing tightness for seated wearers, while the open-snap back adds ease to putting this shirt on/ taking this shirt off and adds intricate detail to the back of the shirt. This shirt can be worn on it’s own, paired with a scarf, or worn under a light jacket for fall/spring.
3/4 Sleeve Summer Top – This white linen top is perfect when worn either on it’s own or when paired with outerwear or accessories, making this a piece that can be worn for all four seasons. This top has my favorite A-line cut, which allows the top to flow around the waist and stomach.
Posted onWhile we were busy creating accessible winter fashion, we captured some images to give you exclusive glimpses behind the scenes.The IZ Studio has been buzzing, with Capsule 1 of Fall/Winter 2016 available now, and Capsule 2 due to be released at the end of the month.Featuring luxurious fabrics, monochrome looks and punctuated with rich blues, the Fall/Winter collection has been carefully curated to be ahead of the fashion curve while offering new, ingenious functionality options.Fall/Winter has a move towards contemporary ungendered clothing, suitable for everyone. Each ungendered product listing shows the garment styled differently, displaying the versatility.We constantly strive to produce higher quality garments, with a huge focus on exceptional construction and incomparable attention to detail.IZ fashions originate in our studio, in North America, where our small, tight-knit team oversee the process from conception to shipping.The Fall/Winter release showcases some IZ classics in a new, modern incarnation, such as the upcoming Parkas or the redesigned Biker Jacket, and has brand new products, like our men's and women's Sailor Jeans.This collection is inspired by a strong, neutral color palette with a nod to military tailoring and futuristic innovation.Capsule 2 of IZ Collection Fall/Winter 2016 will drop on August 29th.Images taken in-studio by Nicole Wenn.
As many of the disabled community know, having a chronic, debilitating illness creates layers upon layers of social issues which are often ignored. In this video, I address the loss of one's autonomy and the introduction to how one can begin to regain it with simple, joyful actions.
For those of you who are meeting me for the first time, hiya! Pleased to meet you! I hope we can be friends, and I look forward to getting to know you. This project I started almost two years ago now, Frill-Ability, is a growing a resource for the disability and chronic illness community on the web (and soon to be, more!) who are interested in adaptive living. It is a reminder that life doesn't stop when our abilities change. We modify and we enhance, and Frill-Ability is here to encourage along the way. We promote compassion, self-love, and a healthy dose of frills to make life refreshing.
Scroll down past the transcript that is here for our deaf and hard of hearing viewers to find out where you can find Frill-Ability across the web!
(sung by ElleJay)[Sit right down! It's time for a video! Please enjoy the show!] (ukulele strumming fades)
Hey my sparkly friends, it's ElleJay from Frill-Ability.com. We're going to be talking about agency today, so we're going to put on our serious hat for a little bit.
Agency. If a person is white, able-bodied, and cis, they have likely never worried about it. Take away one of those and insert an oppressed, minority group, and they very well might have. Perhaps the definition is unfamiliar.
It is an odd concept to consider. As a disabled person, I regard it frequently without forming the word. Agency can be lost like a large amount of change in a torn pocket. The hole is small, but coin by coin, change drops out, scattered on the pavement. Eventually a person will not have enough to take the bus, buy food, et cetera. (This a world where coin is a higher value currency, like Australia or someplace magical with maybe smaller spiders.)
Money, theoretically, enables people to make choices. (If you have a lot of it, maybe you don't think about it everyday.) Without it, they are reliant on others. (...or worse.) Imagine the following:
You lose a coin when you cannot leave your house because you are a wheelchair user, and your chair-lift only takes a person up the outside steps, not a wheelchair. There are days you feel well enough go outside. However, you are physically prevented because you cannot carry your own chair or walk for more than a couple minutes. You miss out on breathing fresh air, meeting friends, and going anywhere other than your house.
You lose a coin when the people you love stop coming around. Your days are filled with quiet, the nights with silence. The reasons are varied, but they equal to the same thing. Your illness is now uncomfortable, and they will not transition with you.
Coins trickle through the hole with thoughtless, cruel, and pervasive questions from peers. Lost jobs and opportunities. Buildings you cannot enter. Every task someone must do for you or that they insist you cannot do. Doctors who have God-complexes, risking your life. The countless times you have been injured due to inaccessibility. Everyone who thinks it is not worth their time to learn, doesn’t care, or directs their hatred towards you.
Every time these things happen, you temporarily lose your ability to make your own actions and choices. The word of importance is “temporarily.” It is impermissible for one to force their will on another. Our best defense to the people who would not consider us is to create our own sanctuaries. It is time we earned back our salaries.
Bring yourself your version of beauty and function. Separate yourself as best you can from what is not. Why is this so effective? When you have things that work for you that are also helping you thrive, you will glow, wealthy with happiness. You will gain back that strength, that you-stuff that was stolen. When you are met again with a “foe,” you will have sewn your pocket shut. You will have your agency.
This takes time. I know I am still transforming. I can tell you that the “me” I was last August is a markedly different person than who I am now. It took therapy, reflection, patience, self-love, a bunch of bumps along the way, and a whole lot of fighting for myself.
I created Frill-Ability.com, an adaptive lifestyle blog, as a destination for others like myself with the message, “Make Good with Your Ability Today,” because we can always be marvelous with what we have. Life doesn’t end when disability starts. Put on something handsome today, find your favourite thing, and do something meaningful. I believe in you, and I believe in me.
Sending you lots of love and light. Bye bye!
(sung by ElleJay)[It's the end of the show, the end of the show./We love you very much, but it's really time to go./Get off of your computers, and go outside,/Or make a "Nature" board on Pinterest; it's the next best thing./The end of the show, the end of the show...](ukulele strumming fades)
Find me and Frill-Ability at…
Kelly Perks-Bevington for IZ Collection
'Lips OR Eyes - You don’t have to decide'
Hi there! Please allow me to introduce myself! My name is Kelly Perks-Bevington and I’m a 27 year old business owner, blogger/writer from the UK. I am also a Wheelchair user and I’ve got SMA 3 (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) which means for me, that I am an electric wheelchair user.
I was so excited when IZ messaged me over Instagram (@kellypeebz) and as soon as I saw their page and their AMAZING style I was pretty much on board. IZ were really complimentary about my make up and asked if I would ever consider doing a make up based blog for them. At first I was a little apprehensive as I’d never actively written about make up before (apart from raving on Twitter about my favourite new products!). I also feel the “make up/beauty blogger” game is SO full with experts and MUA’s that really know their stuff that I was a teeny bit out of my depth, but after pondering for a few moments whilst staring at my brand new Jeffree Star Beauty Killer palette I thought, “Why the hell not!?”.
So here it is my FIRST EVER, step by step make up blog! I called this blog “Lips OR eyes, you don’t have to decide!” as after a quick chat with my friend Emily (a fellow make up lover) about how some people shy away from a bold eye AND a bold lip.. we were both left wondering WHY!? I think both together make a HUGE statement and I often rock the two together, because you only live once.. and I think we should enjoy all the bold and bright colours we can.
This morning whilst I was applying my make up, I literally took a picture after EVERY step, so that I could hopefully effectively talk you through how to create today’s look. Following each picture I’ll write a detailed description of how each step was carried out, along with the products that I used.
SO! I hope you all enjoy, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this look, if you’d rock it and what your colours of choice are for a bold make up look! Drop me a line on Instagram or Twitter @KellyPeebz or you can visit my site kellyperksbevington.com
Step 1: Cleanse your and moisturise your face
Neutrogena Spot Stress Control Daily Scrub - I use this as it’s literally the ONLY product that’s helped me get my once “problem” skin under control. It stops breakout for me before they even fully appear and for a scrub its not overly abrasive.
Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Moisturiser - I started using this as my facial scrub was on a buy one get one free offer! I’ve not looked back since, it smells AMAZING, it’s light and has a slight menthol feel when it’s applied which makes the face feel really clean! It’s also not overly sticky.
Step 2: Apply Primer to face, neck and eyelids
Revlon Photo Ready perfecting Primer - I use this because it’s silky smooth and creates a great practically pore less base for my foundation.
Step 3: Apply base shadow all over lid, paying special attention to the brow bone.
Jeffree Star (Beauty Killer palette) in shade “China White” - This is a great all over shade, especially if you are as pale as a ghost, like me!
Step 4: Apply dark shadow to crease and just above with a small detailing brush, then blend with a blending brush to give a smokey airbrushed effect.
Jeffree Star (Beauty Killer palette) in shade “Vanity” - This is a rich, dark, matte purple! On first glance I didn’t think this would get much use, but I think I’ve used it daily as of late.
Step 5: Using a detailing/liner brush, dip into your liner colour and draw a wing across the lash line to your desired thickness (the bolder the better!)
Jeffree Star Liquid Lip in shade “Blow Pony” - All of Jeffree Star’s Liquid Lipsticks are also eye safe and vegan, and they make great liners!
Step 6: Go in and blend the dark again to ensure a smooth looking dark shadow with a dramatic edge and apply lash primer.
Dior Show Lash Primer - the lady at Dior was clearly on sales commission and she pushed this lash primer HARD! I don’t normally go for a lash primer but she gave me 20% off and I haven’t stopped using it since.
Step 7: Apply foundation to face, concentrating on any problem areas.
Revlon Colourstay foundation Oily/Combonation in shade “Ivory”
- I’ve done nothing but rave about this foundation to all of my friends, even those who only wear high end make up. This is a steal and the fact that they do an oily/combo option makes it even better. It literally gives me Barbie skin.
Step 8: Blend foundation, using your chosen method
My choice is a Beauty Blender OR a stippling brush on this picture I opted for the brush - I love Beauty Blenders but I’ve got to be honest I prefer a brush for this foundation I just find it applies really well and it’s less messy than using a blender or your fingers.
Step 9: Apply Contour Powder to cheek bones, chin and forehead.
Kat Von D Light and Shade Contour Palette - I use the mid brown in the palette. I brought this palette when I was in Miami in November and it’s lasted AGES! My friend Sarah recently informed me that Miss Von D is bringing her line to Debenhams in the UK in September and I’m absolutely overjoyed! I may make the palette last until then to avoid postage fee’s.
Step 10: Apply brow product and Mascara
Dior Show Mascara in shade “90” - Dior Show is my go to mascara and with their new air lock feature to stop the mascara from drying in the tube as quickly it’s back and better than ever.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Express for Brows and Eyes -
Well what can I say, EVERYONE loves ABH for brows, I’m yet to try the Dip Brow pomade or any of her other brow products BUT I picked this in Miami and I’ve used it every day since.
Step 11: Apply “The finishing touches” in this case lipstick and Highlight to cheeks, brow bone and cupids bow
Jeffree Star Liquid Lip in shade “Blow Pony” - again Jeffree Stars Blow Pony, it’s so versatile and the colour is AMAZING.. It doesn’t really flake or dry but can cause some trouble when eating food especially if it’s oily. However! It’s easy enough to reapply so it’s well worth it.
Sleek Highlight palette - two shades mixed Equinox and Subsolar - This is by far the best “high street” highlight on the market at the moment! It’s absolutely gorgeous and offers plenty of shade choice.
Step 12: Apply hat and take awesome #Selfie
Hat is from the Dudes Factory Berlin. Who doesn't love a good selfie?!
So that brings me to the end of my blog! I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about this look! I’ve also included a collage of my latest favourite make up looks below, let me know if you’d like to see a tutorial on any of them and if you have any questions about ANY of my looks don’t hesitate to ask! A HUGE thanks to IZ Collection for having me on their blog today, I’ve really enjoyed writing about one of my passions and I hope to speak to you all again soon.
Today's guest blog is from one of our favorite Aussies: Robyn Lambird, a 19 year old athlete who competes internationally in wheelchair racing, a disability advocate, blogger, and total fashion-lover!
"As a disability mentor and advocate, I often preach the importance of being active or involved in some form of sport. Whilst we are all very aware of the benefits of living an active lifestyle, and of how increasing your fitness is key to living longer and staying healthy, for me being an athlete is so much more.
Before I started traveling to compete in wheelchair rugby and athletics I wasn’t quite the person I am today. I had pretty severe anxiety, I didn’t have the confidence needed to put myself in situations where I would have to be self reliant, and I was also struggling with my mobility. Although as an advocate I promoted the idea that life for people living with disabilities didn’t have to be one of confinement or limitation, I almost didn’t believe in my own abilities.
I wouldn’t really interact with new people unless I had other friends or family with me, and I couldn’t imagine hopping on a plane by myself or living without my parents for more than a couple of days. Although I’ve always had a pretty positive outlook when it comes to disability, I think in the back of my mind, I always thought I was going to find myself stuck in some kind of situation where my cerebral palsy would get the better of me.
In a sporting environment though, I am forced to be social in order to be successful. Whether it’s during a rugby competition, where team communication is the most vital part of the game, or in athletics, where networking is key to becoming noticed as an athlete, I can’t escape putting myself out there. This has definitely played a huge part in me developing into the confident person I am today, even if I did have to fake it until I made it!
The other great thing about traveling as a disabled athlete is that you have ample opportunity to learn how others, in a similar situation to yourself, navigate the world. In my case, on a number of occasions I’ve traveled with an older athlete who also has CP and just seeing how she does basic things like preparing meals or going up and down curbs in her wheelchair, has helped me greatly in being more independent in my own day to day life. However, whilst the athletes around are often there to support you if need be, the competitive and focused nature of sport pushes you to be the most independent and capable person you can be on your own.
Working out has also given me a better understanding of my own body. As I progress I can feel a deeper connection between my mind and my muscles, and I’m noticing new levels of engagement all the time. Through this new sense of awareness, I’m able to see how strengthening or loosening a particular muscle has a knock on effect on my overall posture. I’m also better equipped to recognise poor alignment and to work to correct it. In being able to access and draw upon more of my body, I’ve been able to develop more efficient ways of mobilising, both in my wheelchair and on my feet, and have in turn reduced the amount joint pain I experience on a day to day basis.
Through developing these skills, I am now able to put myself out there as a public figure and speak confidently about the issues I am passionate about. Sport has also given me a bigger platform on which I can be an advocate and I can now say I'm truly living what I teach.
I’m not trying to convince you that joining a football team is going to be a miracle cure, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t have days where the sweaty palms and racing heart rate come back, or I’m left feeling sorry for myself because of knee pain, but I can honestly say I’ve never been more confident and comfortable with in myself and I owe a large portion of that success to my sporting experiences."
Follow Robyn's accounts for more of her sporting life:
My name is Alicia Searcy and I am the 'Spashionista' (short for Spastic Fashionista) Nashville, Tennessee's disabled fashion and style blogger extraordinaire. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and am wheelchair or walker dependent, but that hasn't stopped me from being fashionable.
On my blog, Spashionista.com, I've shared my passion for fashion while advocating for social awareness and acceptance of people with disabilities.
In 2012, I decided to become a fashion blogger because I couldn't find anyone else who was addressing fashion from the perspective of disabled, curvy women over the age of 40. I focused the bulk of my efforts on Nashville – the current “it” city in the US – and have featured countless designers, boutiques, and vintage clothing shops. I've also covered Nashville Fashion Week and many other runway shows and events as well as addressing social and physical accessibility issues around town.
I have learned firsthand that there are a great many designers that have an interest not just in portraying their work as strictly editorial, runway pieces, but also in the sartorial, everyday sense of fashion. There are lots of designers whose desire is to make women (and men) look and feel good. However, many women in my demographic are either unaware of these designers or feel they are somehow not worthy of wearing fashionable clothing. I decided I wanted to change that. I think being stylish and caring about one's appearance is a sign of self-respect and approachability. Fashion isn't just for young, able-bodied supermodels. It's for all of us.
On September 10th of this year, I'm producing Nashville's first inclusive fashion show called 'Fashion is for Every Body'. Male and female models of all ages, races, sizes and abilities will participate in multiple runway segments at abrasiveMedia in Nashville. Twenty models will wear clothing from local designers, many of whom have previously shown collections at Nashville, New York and Austin Fashion Weeks. Evan Gray, Cat-land Forever Couture, Amanda Valentine, Nashville 2016 Fashion Forward Fund Recipient Eric Adler, Ola Mai, and Black by Maria Silver will show some of their iconic Nashville fashion. Clothing from Pura Vida Vintage and Opium Vintage will also be featured, and John Thielman, Andrés Bustamante and Alter ur Ego are presenting their debut collections. Our models range in age from 18 to 50+ and from sizes 00 to 20. Models with physical disabilities will be on the same runway as their able-bodied colleagues. We even have a handsome guide dog escorting a visually impaired model!
During breaks in the show, we will be showing clips from a documentary we are shooting about how the show's participants view their contribution to fashion and inclusion in today's Nashville. The evening will conclude with a pop-up shopping event featuring clothing by the show's designers and boutiques and any artwork displayed on the walls of abrasiveMedia. The inaugural 'Fashion is for Every Body' will pay tribute to David Bowie's iconic influence on fashion, style, and self-acceptance.
Everyone involved in this project is volunteering their time for free. We are currently fund-raising to pay for the venue, lighting, equipment rental and media materials needed to make this show a reality. Please visit our Indiegogo page if you'd like to purchase a “Fashion is for Every Body” T-Shirt or other perk to help make this show a reality!
Stay in touch with this and further projects!
Posted onIt's summer time here in the Northern Hemisphere and there's nothing better on a sunny afternoon than a bunch of friends, a cold beer and catching your local team play.Finding the perfect combination of sporty and stylish is easy with IZ and a few of our favorite brands. Here's our tips for the ultimate game day outfit:Your best bet for a long afternoon in the stands is something comfortable, which is a guarantee with IZ! Our Tank Dress is an ideal pick for something simple that will work even when you hit a bar after the game. Being sun smart is essential, and what better way to rep your team than with the quintessential baseball cap? We also love these Emma cat-eye frames by Tom Ford for a classic look that never goes out of fashion. Pack your Denim Cape for the cool evening breeze.Crisp white Chuck Taylors by Converse really make the fine Floral Print on our Short Sleeve Shirt pop. Teamed with our Navy Chino Shorts, you get a head to toe look that's a total home run.
Posted onFor high profile models Alana Zimmer and Grace Mahary, fashion is obviously a huge part of their lives, though both women have family members who face the unique challenges to fashion and dressing presented to all wheelchair users. This experiencemotivated the models to participate in our Fashion IZ Freedom campaign.As part of the promotion for IZ's upcoming Fall / Winter range for 2016, Grace and Alana took their dedication one step further and participated in a shoot in which they work with lead IZ model Anita Kaiser to show off the new collection.Shot by Chris Chapman and styled by Peter Pappapetrou, senior artist from MAC Cosmetics Melissa Gibson was the MUA and hair was styled by Marilisa Sears of Marc Anthony.The fashion industry sets standards for every body and to see yourself represented in fashion can be rare, however, for wheelchair users in particular it is almost impossible. At IZ, we've made it our mission to break down barriers and push for diversity. Merging the mainstream fashion world with our IZ garments by putting clothing designed for sitting on a standing frame, is an unusual concept that highlights the unique differences that IZ offers.
Find out more about the project with our BTS video:Full Credits:
Models : Alana Zimmer, Grace Mahary, Anita Kaiser
Designer : Izzy Camilleri
Photographer : Chris Chapman
Styling : Peter Pappapetrou
Video : Andrew Jeffrey
Hair : Marilisa Sears
MUA : Melissa Gibson
Set Design : Caitlin Doherty
Social : Belle OwenBehind The Scenes Photography : Nicole Wenn
Posted onThis guest blog comes from Sitting Pretty Vlogger, LoLo. She lives in California and documents her life on her YouTube channel while also being the Dating 'Cur8er' for Cur8able. Sassy, stylish and strong, Lolo shares her journey towards self love in the dating game as a woman with a physical disability.
"It amazes me that it took until almost 30 years old to finally grasp what it means to have self worth.The years I’ve spent holding my subconscious mind hostage to negative thoughts about myself and believing in my insecurities are indescribable now that I’ve finally recognized a glorious part of who I am. The fact that I was able to hide how I really felt about myself from others was something like a magician. All this time wasted doubting myself was rooted in the fact that I am physically disabled and use a wheelchair. School, work, pursuing my dream and purpose was never an issue. It comes so naturally for me to work hard and plan every move I need to make to achieve a goal. But love and romantic relationships have been the most difficult area of my life to become successful in.I was diagnosed with A.L.S. (which I recently discovered could POTENTIALLY be a misdiagnosis) at 14 years old. In high school I wore leg braces because my legs had gotten weaker and I needed the support in lifting my foot off the ground to walk around campus.Around the infamous age of 16 is when I started to notice that everyone else was having boyfriends and receiving love letters except me. I thought to myself, “Who would REALLY want me as a girlfriend? I can barely walk. I wear these leg braces. I’m as skinny as a toothpick. I can’t play sports. I can’t dance anymore. I never wore “girly” clothes…so why would a guy like me in that way?” Before I knew it, I’d talked myself out of being loved and settled in believing I was only good enough to be “just a friend.”Today, as a grown woman, I realize it’s a gift and a curse. It’s one of the best parts of me, being able to create and maintain platonic relationships with men. On the flip side, I’ve spent many years secretly loving a male friend as I watched him love someone else, feeling my insecurity of not being “good enough” grow, and having many conversations with men who bragged about how they wanted to pursue other women as if I wasn't sitting directly in front of them. This wasn’t the case with all my male friends, just a handful during my younger days. Nonetheless, the experiences affected me in my early adult life when dating was much more frequent.When I finally went off to college and transitioned from leg braces to a power wheelchair my desire for a relationship became much more prevalent. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried, yelled and ranted, about, “What do those girls have that I don’t?” The only difference I could see was my disability and my wheelchair, but that was something I couldn’t help or control. I can’t change that, so now what? I started thinking, “Besides my disability, what about me is unattractive to men, and can I change those things?”I started comparing every aspect of myself, trying to identify my femininity based on what my friends did or what I saw celebrities were doing, which is probably the WORST thing that you can do to yourself as a person, especially as a woman. I started making active changes. I began wearing makeup, which I’ve actually learned to love. I changed up my clothes and started showing more skin. I started wearing heels because I figured, if I’m not going to walk in them, why not wear them? I’ll admit, it definitely started to make me feel more feminine and I loved it, but it still didn’t seem to make a difference in my dating life. So I thought, “I’ve upgraded my look, what else, within my ability, can I change to be more attractive to men?”Then I bought a self-help book titled “Powerful and Feminine” by Rachel Jayne Groover. What drew me to her book was how it is focused on re-training your energy to attract the attention you want versus a “do’s” and “don’ts” list like other books. As I read the book I got to where she explained that a woman’s feminine energy comes from our hips and our walk. These are the core areas in how to exude feminine energy out to the world and essentially attract men. When I kept seeing how often it was referenced throughout the book, I just thought to myself, “It’s over for me. I’m never going to be able to show how feminine I can be, I’m forever going to be just the friend, and men will never be attracted to me enough to actually want to date me. AGAIN another thing thrown in my face to remind me of something I can’t do thanks to my disability.” I legitimately was sad because of it. I wanted to change this area of my life so badly and now it seemed it would be impossible to achieve. Literally there was nothing I felt like I could do; I felt helpless and unsure about myself once again.But I knew I couldn’t feel this way forever. I was tired of being overlooked and under appreciated in my relationships and interactions with men.After spending a lot of time by myself, I realized my focus to change was all wrong. My motivation to change anything about myself should’ve NEVER been about men. It should’ve never been about wanting to impress others because what is meant for me will come naturally and will never feel forced. In that moment it was like a domino effect. Light bulb after light bulb went off in my head of every thing I was misunderstanding about myself and my motivation to change. Then the biggest light bulb went off; I recognized that my disability was not the root to my insecurities, but was in fact, the solution I was looking for during this journey of learning to love myself. My disability is not to blame for the things that go “wrong” in my life. It is what I need to embrace because it’s a huge part of what makes me special and who I am. It’s my disability that drives me to be successful in my purpose, my purpose is rooted in how I live fearless as a wheelchair woman, so I had to love my disability in order to love myself. And like the saying goes, if you don’t love yourself, no one else will.Coming into that self-awareness was like the glass of a fish tank breaking. I was overwhelmed in my newly found confidence that I had not known I even possessed. I learned that I could never be fully happy with who I am if I don’t love my disability. Now that I love every part of me, no person, nor their actions could ever make me feel like I’m not “good enough.” I know it’ll take patience, strength to keep the insecurities away, and even making some mistakes, but I feel powerful in knowing I’ve become the woman I know I am meant to be. As far as my dating life goes, the desire of looking to be in a relationship has fallen by the way side. I’m no longer searching. I’m allowing love to happen organically, so in the meantime, I’ll be right here just “sitting pretty” until the day love arrives.- Peace"YouTube: SittingPrettyLOLOInstagram: @itsLOLOloveTwitter: @itsLOLOloveFacebook: Lolo Sitting Pretty
Posted onMeet Lynne. She's been enjoying the benefits of being an IZ customer since August of 2014 when she purchased her first pair of Black Leggings and the Mandarin Tunic, which she said gave her hope that there was actually someone who understood how to meet the needs of those with mobility issues. After years of being on the road with the family business, Lynne, along with the love her life, her husband, Joshua, and their 3 children, have newly relocated to the mountains of Colorado near Boulder. Their family is loving the cool weather which is a huge benefit since Lynne is an avid Fiber Artist. After becoming ill over nine years ago, which lead to her becoming a paraplegic, she has used Fiber Arts as a means of therapy for her body and to enjoy the feeling of being productive again. Lynne delights in anything to do with Yarn and Fleeces. It took eight long years of therapy for her to be able to spin on a spinning wheel again after nerve damage severely affected her mobility. She now uses the Spinning Wheel as a means of therapy for her legs and says that although she cannot stand or even straighten her legs, she can always spin!After years of using Knitting and Crochet to keep her fingers and arms moving and Spinning to work what movement she has left in her legs, she began to truly realize the benefits that Fibers Arts could give to the community of others with mobility issues, Thus, the creation of Healing Fibers Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages the use of Traditional Fiber arts for those who have physical or mental challenges, people who have chronically illness and Caregivers. Lynne spends her time split between the family business and working on reaching those in the community to bring them a taste of Traditional Fiber Arts.Lynne says “It is much easier to get out and work with the public when your own choice of clothing doesn’t consist of large Mumu type dresses, ill-fitting clothing…. or the obligatory sweat suit that has become synonymous with the wheelchair for some odd reason…. No, IZ has brought style to this community allowing us to meet the world with confidence, comfort, and flare!”
Lynne’s Top Five Picks are….
1) Flow Tunic
“This is by far my favorite item! The Tunics are long enough to cover the top part of the legs but is cut so there is no bunching of extra material. I am also a breast cancer survivor and after the mastectomy, the draped front gives a fabulous look and helps to hide problem areas. I have these in every color IZ makes!”
“Before the wheelchair became home, I loved to wear leggings and a big shirt. I thought those days were over because the tops of normal leggings are so uncomfortable in my wheelchair but IZ read the thoughts of all us from the 80s and made Leggings we would be comfortable in all day long! I have five pairs in my closet and can’t imagine life without them!
3) Boucle Cape
“This is the cover-up that lays by the door all year long. It is easy to put on, especially if you have difficulty with arm movement, it keeps you warm while still giving your arms free movement so you can spin on your spindle or knit with no restrictions even when you are out on a chilly day!
“This is on my Wish-List! What a beautiful dress! Perfect for interfacing with a client, going to a formal dinner or date night with your husband. This will soon become a staple in the closet!”
5) Parka Cape
“This is another ‘Wish List’ item for me. After spending some very cold winters in the NYC Metro area while traveling for the family company, the Parka Cape would have been a life saver! Until IZ introduced the Parka Cape, there was little to choose from in way of a comfortable, easy to put on and warm coat for the wheelchair. With the Colorado winters approaching in a few months, this is a definite on the To-Buy List!!”
Posted onWe all know that workout attire is no longer just oversized tees or sloppy sweatpants. Athleisure is a strong fashion statement that's here to stay, so it's essential that you look just as good while you're working out as you do getting to and from the gym. Gym accessories have come a long way recently too, finding their way into even the most stylish every day outfit. We've got our top picks for your perfect gym look that's also extremely comfortable - no one wants to worry about their pants slipping down while they're trying to lift...GUYS: Forget those tacky stringlets. A simple, stylish and wearable tee shirt is a must. The Fashion IZ Freedom tee is not only super comfortable, but also contributes to making the world a more accessible place! Doing good and looking good at the same time totally burns extra calories and builds muscle.Your shoes obviously need to be appropriate to your abilities and your work out routine, but we love the classic black and white Nike Roshe One - they're light, comfortable and they look ultimate.Want a cool water bottle that doubles as a talking point? Life straw is an amazing invention that filters as you drink, so you have clean water on the go, plus you can clip it to your backpack, your chair, whatever works. Our Sweat Shorts are incredibly popular for a reason, the fit you need (and deserve) with a zip-up pocket on the thigh so your gym card and keys don't get lost.
GIRLS: A cute and unique way to spin the athleisure look for warming up and winding down, is our Hoodie Cape. Effortless, cozy and with a convenient pouch pocket on the front. Keep track of how long you've been sweating it out with the Time Teller Digi by Nixon design. We love the Bright Coral shade for a summery pop of color. Keeping basic black on your bottom half leaves room to easily change up your look with a bright top - look no further than our Athletic Leggings. These leggings are comfort plus, with a bunch of stretch so they can stand up to anything. Sony W Series Sports Walkman is next level for work out tunes. They're easy to use, they'll stay on and they're even waterproof, so you can wear them in the pool and stay motivated while you're swimming laps! We love it when technology and fashion merge so seamlessly.
Posted onYou may already be familiar with IZ founder and designer Izzy Camilleri. She's been creating ground breaking adaptive clothing since 2009 and been in the fashion game for almost three decades working on runway, film and fashion editorials. We asked a few questions so you can get to know her a little better..
What’s your own personal style like?
My own personal style is quite casual. I’m a jeans and Tee Shirt kinda gal.
What are your fashion essentials?
My fashion essentials are good fitting, comfortable jeans, basic cotton shirts and tee shirts. A blazer when I need to clean up a bit for meetings. Those get me through most days, but when I need to clean up a bit more, I’ll put on a skirt or dress. I tend to wear black a lot, as I find it slimming and easy to match with other things.
Do you ever wear IZ?
Yes, I do! Although I’m not a wheelchair user myself, many of the pieces can also work for a standing frame. I have 3 Boucle Capes, which are so easy to put on and add style to any outfit. I also have IZ Dress Shirts, Tee shirts and a Leather Jacket, which allows for ease around my waist and hips. The unique cut adds some interest to the look too.
What are your favorite IZ pieces?
For women, I love the denim cape, the IZ version of a classic denim jacket, our Trench Coat and Trench Cape are also iconic pieces with the IZ twist. For men, I love the Spring Jacket, its stylish, trendy and uniquely functional. Our Cargo Pant is another favorite, having modern pockets on the thigh for easy access to your things, as well as optional pocket details for easy access.
Why do you think IZ is important in the fashion world right now?
The fashion world is starting to take notice of people with disabilities and becoming more diverse and inclusive by having wheelchair users in runway presentations. However, the clothes that they are presenting are not designed for a seated frame or may not work properly when using a wheelchair. IZ is important as it is created specifically for wheelchair users, allowing our customers to have the same trends and options offered in standard fashion.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from many different things pending on what I’m working on. My inspiration for designing IZ is my clients. They inspire and influence my designs with feedback and suggestions, even just seeing the way they express themselves with fashion. Beyond them, I get inspired by other designers, fabrics and sometimes small details found in places you least expect.
What’s something that IZ customers might not know about you?
I wake up most mornings at the crack of dawn and do a brisk 5k walk, snow, rain or shine. It’s a great way to get my day going. I also enjoy hiking when I can get to the trails.
What are some of your best career moments outside of IZ?
Before I started IZ, I serviced the film industry with custom work for major celebrities. I worked with some very high profile A-listers such as Angelia Jolie, Daniel Radcliffe and David Bowie to name just a few. Having my coat worn by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada was a highlight.
If you have questions you'd like to ask Izzy, submit them via our contact form here.
Posted onSid Marcos is the ED of Outlandish Travel, an organization dedicated to promoting accessibility and socially sustainable travel. In her off time you can find her in San Diego, vlogging on This Is CRIPPLE or hanging with her Great Dane at a coffee shop. For her first guest blog with IZ, she shares her experience of being a woman with a disability, intersectional discrimination, gender roles and complex ideas of beauty and fashion."Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s supposed to mean to be a woman. Every culture perpetuates its own certain ideas of femininity. These images of femininity are intimately linked to further perceptions of sexuality, gender and beauty and engender a static image of what it is to be a woman.What we don’t realize when we begin, ourselves, to sculpt our personal view of what it is to be a woman is that we are defining femininity on social standards that are ultimately arbitrary. And as women, we perpetuate these performances through how we speak, interact and dress.Because we only ever see a woman’s body used to portray roles that are hyper-sexualized, hyper feminine, and objects of beauty, we cannot separate the idea of a dynamic womanhood from our cultural archetypes. We employ this archetypal imagery adversely towards women in a form of social policing, applying to them titles like “whore” and “dyke”.Basically, when we don’t see women whose purpose is to represent something that is not beautiful, sexual or feminine we deauthorize their experience as a woman.And then I consider what it means to be a disabled woman. With ableism as the lynchpin of our existence, there’s usually not much room for sexist expectations on top of it all.This is why we usually see cripples represented as sexless people. Ableism is the stripping of all individualism and the consequential process is desexualization.So I often end up wondering what a good disabled female role model would look like.“She should be radically, overtly sexual”, I think, to debase the sexless narrative.But then “..but not tooo sexual because women’s sexuality is already massively exploited...”And the dialogue continues in my head, debating all standardizations and perceptions - until I realize that there’s no space to be a disabled woman in our culture; no room for us to self-define. With our appearance, our choices and our sexuality being viewed as publicly owned for criticism and commentary; given our history with Ugly Laws and undetermined notions if we should even want to pursue an idea of beauty - I can’t imagine what a “good” representation could possibly look like.So I’ve finally come to this “F*ck it” conclusion. There is no such thing as a good role model. And I suppose this to be a feminist epiphany because I’m finally realizing that disabled women simply are who we are - and that’s the best representation I can ask for."Find out more about Sid by connecting with her on Twitter, Instagram and subscribing to her YouTube channel.
Meet Carol. She can regularly be seen out in the city of Toronto at various events in her role as a Healthy Communities Champion. Recently, Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition publicly recognized Carol, who has volunteered with OHCC for over 20 years networking & sharing information about "Social Determinates of Health", and she was proudly wearing clothing designed by IZ!
Carol feels lucky to lead a full life filled with activities that bring her much joy. She loves art, music and dance and finds pleasure Wheel Dancing, hanging out with friends & family at Art Gallery of Ontario and meeting up with like-minded folks at festivals/outdoor concerts, storytelling events, as well as going to farmers' markets. Activities in nature have been one of her life long passions enjoying Toronto's many parks & trails that are becoming more accessible for all. She looks forward to renting wheelchair accessible vans so she's able to go out of town to visit relatives, especially her grandson Jaron who lives in St Marys, Ontario. This fall, plans are in process to take extended time away to visit her son Joe and her brother Doug in British Columbia. Currently, Carol is in the middle of visioning a Peace Garden at her home with her very capable gardener, daughter Melissa.
Carol tells us IZ Clothing has made a huge difference in her life after accepting her changing body & the need to dress for comfort. Carol uses a power wheelchair full time due to advanced scoliosis, post-polio & fibromyalgia. She's been an enthusiastic IZ Customer since early 2015 when she first focused on buying adaptive outerwear & fell in love with her Parka Cape, Black Cowl Neck Cape, Grey Hoodie Cape and a much used Wool Knit Vest plus a Rain Cape. Carol found that mixing & matching neutral and muted shades saves her time & energy when choosing her outfits for the day's activities whether in a professional setting or during her leisure activities. With addition of one of her many hats & a colorful scarf she is set to go.
Carol gave us her picks for her Spring/Summer Wardrobe:
- Straight Leg Jeans - 1 black & 1 blue pair!
“I really liked my first pair so I decided to stick with what works for me in comfort & easy dressing. Jeans can be worn almost anywhere today & can be super casual worn with a tee or dressed-up wearing a black dress jacket. When the weather warms up I'll roll up the cuffs & slip on my sandals instead of my boots.”
- Ankle Pants - white. (2 pairs!)
“I like the idea of keeping 2 of each item in my closet that I'd like to wear often & these pants will be in demand on a regular basis. There are so many possibilities for mixing & matching with pieces I already have that it'll be fun to use my creativity in coming up with multiple outfits.”
- Tank Dresses - 1 in black and 1 in black & white stripes.
“I found my IZ grey wool tube dress so comfortable in winter that I could easily forget I had it on! I had to get a summery version and am looking forward to the same experience wearing both these dresses.”
“I know that capes are my best option for ease in dressing & with scoliosis the cape is just the thing to help eliminate unwanted discomfort. Plus, I see my jean cape as a great addition to wear with my jeans as well as my 2 new tank dresses.”
“Since I experience cold intolerance especially in air conditioned buildings, I know that these pants worn with my grey hoodie cape will come in handy even in the warmer weather!”
“P.S. The word "FREEDOM" continues to have meaning in my life and therefore my FASHION IZ FREEDOM Tees are worn often. These T shirts are so soft & wash easy so I’ve ordered 2 more to add to the 2 I already have in my drawers!”
Carol gets her Wheelchair accessible vans from Wheelchair in Motion wheelchairinmotion.com
To find out more about Wheel Dancing, check out wheeldance.ca
Posted onYou may remember Joanne Smith as one of our first IZ people! Through her nutrition company Fruitful Elements, she's written a book, magazine columns, blogs and more, providing helpful, healthful nutritional tips and advice, especially to those with a spinal cord injury. She's shared some valuable information with the IZ community to help us all achieve optimal health and well-being."As someone who has lived with a spinal cord injury for 25 years, I fully understand the unique challenges you face in trying to stay healthy while living a full and active life. One of the keys to this delicate balance is proper nutrition. After sustaining spinal damage your metabolism is significantly altered and this can contribute to the development of a host of other secondary health complications, which can negatively impact your independence. Incorporating whole foods into your diet is an important way to help maintain your health, improve daily functioning, reduce the secondary complications that come with living with a spinal cord injury, minimize illness, and maximize your potential.So let’s begin with the most important meal of the day - yes our Mother’s were right… its breakfast! It’s been estimated that people with mobility impairments must exert seven times the energy to accomplish the same physical tasks as an able-bodied person, so it’s vital to properly fuel your body every morning. Now before you pour yourself a big bowl of processed cereal or detour to your local drive-thru for a large sugary coffee and toasted bagel to get your morning kick - wait! These morning meals are loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates that can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and low immunity. While they may give you a quick energy boost, they'll just as quickly give you an energy crash and before you know it you'll be reaching for the next quick hit of food again.What you need is a quick n' easy food source that also sustains your energy- Breakfast Smoothies are the perfect answer! These delicious shakes only take 5 minutes to make, that is less time than you spend in line at the drive-thru! And the bonus is you will never get bored of eating smoothies because you can mix up your favorite fruits into them. Smoothies are not only high in complex carbohydrates to keep you going all morning, but they're also packed with muscle-building protein & immune-boosting nutrients. On top of all of these tasty health benefits, smoothies also help increase your metabolism so they can actually help you lose weight! All you need are the following ingredients & a counter-top blender or hand blender:
Grounded Earth Protein Smoothie½ banana1 ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (can substitute soy or rice milk)2 tsp almond butter½ cup dates (seeds out)½ tsp spirulina power (can substitute greens or sea vegetable powder)1 tsp oat bran
Combine all ingredients in blender and buzz until smooth in consistency
*Spirulina is a nutrient dense algae that can be found in your local health food store and it doesn’t taste bad-I promise!You can connect with Joanne for more information through her website fruitfulelements.com or on social media at Twitter and Facebook.
Posted onWhether your job is casual and creative or seriously sophisticated, deciding what to wear to work can be one of the trickiest and most time consuming parts of your week. Your best bet is building out a strong wardrobe of mix-and-matchable neutrals that can easily be updated season to season with a pop of on-trend color, or patterned shirt or scarf.Comfort for long meetings and late nights is essential while still looking effortlessly stylish, so we've put together some office-friendly outfit ideas in a combination of IZ adaptive fashion and our favorite brands.Guys: Change it up from the standard black pants, white shirt combination with our super sharp grey Dress Pants and our contemporary small gingham print Dress Shirt.Not only do they look great together, either causally with the shirt sleeves rolled, or under a Blazer, they can both transition into weekend wear if the occasion calls for it. Don't be afraid to wear a tie with a fine, complimentary pattern, like this Joseph Lister by Bay Cooper in a darker grey. Complete your look with a bold watch. We like this simple design by Marc Jacobs, with an infinitely wearable combination of black, white and silver.Girls: There's nothing easier to match than black on black! Our Pencil Skirt is an essential addition to every work day wardrobe. The ideal length and adjusted hems mean you look maximum chic, especially teamed with the subtle texture of the Lace Shell. Having a bag that can fit your lunch and your tablet, doesn't mean you have to carry an old canvas tote everywhere. Kate Spade has a range of purses with all the space you'd need in a color to suit everyone. Statement frames are a must have and these slightly tinted see-through Greta Glasses from Tom Ford are highly covetable.
Posted onMeet Jessica. She's been an amazing IZ customer since way back when we began! She lives in a flat in central Stockholm, Sweden, with her two lovable cats Zorro and Zelda. Jessica was actually born in Montreal, Canada and lived there until she was almost two, when her family moved back to Sweden, where her mum is from. Her dad is Norwegian and while she's not a big sports fan, she says it's nice to have three nations to cheer for at the Olympics.Jessica works at an Independent Living organization. Human rights are important to her, especially those for people with disabilities. Right now her role is a communicator, which suits her perfectly as she's interested in all sorts of writing and design. She also likes the arts and culture and fills all her free time with concerts and museums. Nature and traveling are also a must for Jessica. She's excited about her next trip to Japan this summer.Her personal style is bright and bold, and she often changes her hair to match.
We asked Jessica for her top 5 IZ picks:
"It's too hard to choose only five!
1. Boucle Cape. Easy to put on. Perfect to layer. It's super soft and it drapes so nice. And mine (last year's rose color) matches the color of my hair right now.
2. Jeggings. A must have. These fit so well that it feels like you don't have any pants on (and they fit over my spinal brace, yey) yet stylish.
3. Keep Your Knees Together. It's as genius as it is simple. Skirts and dresses look so much nicer when ones knees are kept together.
4. Blazer Easy-Zip Back. The Easy Zip-back makes it so much easier to get dressed. And a blazer is a must when I need to be more formal in my job. Ordinary blazers are almost impossible for me to get on.
And last but not least:
5. the Lap Blanket. It's often too cold for my taste here in Sweden. I tried some other brands' foot bags but they were too tricky to get on and off. And ordinary blankets just fall off. So last year I bought the parka one and loved it so I had to buy the rose quilted one too.
Then, I still love my lime green knitted open back cape I bought several years ago. It must been from the first ever collection from IZ!"
Posted onGuest blogger Koti is easily one of the most stylish guys in the IZ community. Based in Seattle, he candidly shares his experience of becoming a wheelchair user and his relationship with fashion."In my career as a performing, studio musician based in Seattle, I always had to put some thought into clothes. They had to be functional and do well under stage lights, yet still be durable and hard-wearing during setup and tear down at shows. But I can't lie; I like clothes anyway. In the summer of 2007 on a sunny Saturday afternoon in July, I went for a drive in my newly restored 1973 Datsun 240Z; I had just spent six months fixing it up. I was stopped at a red light on an on-ramp when I was suddenly, violently struck from behind by another car traveling near freeway speeds.In the emergency room, I was given a diagnosis of a complete spinal cord injury (C4 Tetraplegia). I was paralyzed, and had lost all sensation and independent movement below my shoulders. Later, after spinal shock subsided, I regained limited movement and sensation in my arms and hands. My music career was over.Before the accident, I had always enjoyed making light modifications to my clothes by hand or sewing machine, but as I transitioned out of rehab some months later my clothing choices had to be solely about function. As a full time wheelchair user it was difficult to find any "regular" clothes that looked right on my seated form, and all of the adaptive clothing I found online made me look like an old man. I had to buy much larger, ill-fitting pants and shirts just to avoid dangerous pressure on my skin from tightness in the hips, crotch, or seat that could cut off circulation. Even sitting on buttons, rivets, seams, pockets, and wrinkles could cause pressure and damage which I would be unable to sense. When looking for clothing I also had to think about whether my personal care assistants would be able to easily dress my lower body and have access to my ankle area throughout the day. Taking all of these practical considerations together as a whole meant I could only dream about clothes that would fit well, be safe for me to sit in all day, AND still look great...I had all but given up on my search when suddenly, early last year I discovered IZ. I was so excited by what I saw! I was suspicious though, and kept my eyes peeled for signs that there might be "a catch". Still, I searched through the online store, and (hesitantly) placed an order. Now, I sit here happily typing away in a pair of grey Straight Leg Jeans (with a bit of elasticity, perfectly safe for my skin), a T-shirt (VERY stretchy, and easy for me to put on despite having limited strength in my arms), and the blue Peacoat that looks super sharp, and fits great! The last item has been particularly sweet because my old pea coat was a staple in my wardrobe here in Rain City. I thought I would never be able to wear one againKoti has a website at www.kotihu.com where you can find links to download his music.
Packed with features, our Spring Jacket with Removable Hood is this season’s must have layering piece for men. Brand new to IZ, the revolutionary universal design features a tabbed, easy to operate double ended zipper in the front as well as a tabbed zipper along each side seam. These discreet side zips start at the hem and run all the way up the underside of the sleeve, just past the elbow. This opens the jacket up if needed, to reduce bending and manipulating arms and eliminating the need for an ‘open back’ option, so the jacket is for everyone, regardless of upper body mobility. Side zippers can also be left slightly open at the bottom, allowing for extra room while seated.
A flange at the back of the shoulders allows for extra room, especially valuable to those using a manual wheelchair. With two Velcro secured cargo pockets on the chest, and two zippered pockets at the hip, it’s not just cool, but ultra convenient and the removable hood makes it simple to change up the look. Available in two colors, Black and Clay, the durable, thick cotton blend construction will look even better after a few wears and be a wardrobe staple for years to come.
Posted onThis Guest Blog comes from Rebekah, a writer and a teacher who lives in a very small, very old house with two chunky orange cats in Kansas City. She is currently pursuing her PhD in creative nonfiction and disability studies at the University of Kansas. While she spends a lot of her time writing long-form pieces about her connection to disability, she also has an Instagram account, @sitting_pretty, that she uses to 1) reflect on what it means to live as a disabled woman, 2) connect with others who are also processing what it means to live from a particular body, and 3) share more beautiful, nuanced photos of a body that looks and moves differently than most."I became curious about the representation of people with disabilities in media because of my twenty-one nieces and nephews. I have used a wheelchair since I was about six years old, and when I was thirteen, my first baby nephew was born. When I move about in public, I am used to the wide-eyed stares of children. They follow my form up the greeting card section and down the party-supplies aisle as if I were actually flapping wings through the air. In contrast, my nieces and nephews clamor over my chair and onto my lap as naturally as if my wheels and handlebars were actually knees and elbows.
This contrast is noteworthy, but uncomplicated. My nieces and nephews see me regularly. The image of me loading my chair in and out of my car, pushing myself up a hill, and carrying a baby on my lap has become so commonplace it’s boring. Most people, on the other hand, are rather unfamiliar with bodies that look and move like mine. But the ease with which my nieces and nephews interact with me and my chair sparked my thinking about the implications brought about by the steady stream of disability-related images presented to the population at large.
Pointing out the skewed representation of disability in media is nothing new. Disability is used as a metaphor, a plot device, a tool to inspire compassion in nondisabled characters and audiences.
People with impairments are asexualized, assumed to be desperate for a cure, and depicted as either “super-crips” triumphing over life’s adversities or pitiable, isolated victims. Because those with disabilities are historically excluded from controlling these images, most representations of disability have been more harmful than helpful.
But what happens when we grab the reigns of our own representation? This is the question that gets me all jazzed up, because we are moving into this place in time when nearly everyone can self-publish any image or paragraph they wish to share with the inter-webs. We are granted the ability to put into the world whatever narrative of disability we want, and while it’s not the same as starring in a film, it’s not nothing, and it could be so much more. What would happen if we flooded our social media platforms with representations of disability that broke the victim/hero paradigms and cracked open the door for nuance? How could we show the beauty/humor/normalcy/idiosyncrasies of living life with a different sort of body? What images would we like to share? What ideas do we wish to be heard? What hashtags do we want to gather around? (#cripplepunk is one of my current favorites, but a friend and I are trying to get #crippleton to catch on) And what – I can’t help but imagine – might be the implication of our reclamation of representation? What new kinds of looks might we invoke when we move through public spaces? How could our voices reshape the cultural narrative of disability? What stories do we want to tell?"All photographs provided by Rebekah.
Chances are, if you're a wheelchair user, know someone who is a wheelchair user or just read news on the internet, you've heard of AccessNow. Just in case you've missed one of the most important stories to be splashed on our screens recently, we'll catch you up. Dreamed up by accessibility champion Maayan Ziv, AccessNow is all about sharing accessibility information around the world. Through 'crowd sourcing', restaurants, venues, stores and attractions of all kinds are rated for accessibility on an interactive map. The goal is to have information such as whether a place has automatic doors, alternative entrances, accessible bathrooms, braille and even the level of noise, available at the click of a button. Once places are 'pinned', they can be searched, or you can browse areas to see what's nearby with the accessibility features you need.
As we in the community pin-point the accessibility status of locations, we not only have information that empowers us to make decisions about where to eat, drink, shop and hang out, but we can also start looking at how to turn all the red 'not accessible' pins, to green 'accessible' pins. Through this valuable information, we can strive to find ways to create access where there currently is none.
As a worldwide community, passionate about change, together we can empower each other to have access now.
In our quest for a barrier free world, IZ has teamed up with Maayan and the AccessNow team to create a week long push for new pins. We call it an #AccessHack. With the current goal of 5,000 pins world-wide within sight, every pin counts. When IZ started our #AccessHack, we pledged to pin 60 places in a week, and finished the week on a grand total of 139 pins!
We enthusiastically encourage you, the IZ community, to join in our #AccessHack and pin places in your local area on the website: accessnow.me. Connect with AccessNow on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AccessHack.
Let us know when you join in, by tweeting us @IZadaptive - We'll share with everyone.
Posted onMusic festival season is fast approaching with the holy grail of outdoor festivals, Coachella just a few days away. Being comfortable and cool for a day (or weekend) long party is important, but nothing is as crucial as looking super stylish even after all the hours of sun, dancing, beer and festival food. We put together some fail proof looks from IZ (and a few of our favorite brands) for surviving a music festival in style.Guys: The simple black tee should never be underestimated. It can stand up to dirt, sweat and the drink that your drunk friend will more than likely spill on you during their favorite band. The subtle stripe of our Denim Shorts is right on trend and the zippered pockets keep your cash secure so there's one less thing to worry about. Being sun smart never looked better than with this 100% wool Brixton Alex hat from ASOS, and the look is neatly tied together with a printed bandanna from Zara. Keep your footwear simple, but secure - no one wants to lose a flip-flop. Don't forget to keep up with the sunscreen.Girls: A soft, flowy top is perfect with a capital P for a cute festival outfit, and your best bet is the 70's inspired drape of the 2-Layer Tank. The light blend of our denim shorts keeps your look bright and fresh, with the summer weight fabric ideal for keeping cool. Spending all day soaking up sunshine and tunes and good vibes is always better in a flower crown. The gorgeous Isadora headband from Rock N Rose is our first choice to compliment the pinks in the tank. Top off your look with a pair of statement shades. Make sure you don't invest too much in your festival shades, in case you lose them to the mosh-pit gods. We love these inexpensive aqua frames from Zara.
Posted onMeet Jen, she's been an IZ customer since early 2013. Originally from Torrington, CT, she recently relocated to Landrum, SC. Her and her family moved for the weather and the tax relief, and found so much more, they're pretty sure they landed in paradise! Jen is a stay at home mom with two active teenagers and likes dogs, swimming, and sarcasm. Jen tends to always find the fun side of a challenge, and loves using humor to help her friends through the tough stuff life throws at them. She also loves to entertain, and lives by the motto, “the more the merrier, bring food!”She loves watching professional football; the NFL one, not soccer. She is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan, but will watch any teams play. Her personal style is jeans and a clean shirt. In a perfect world, she would be fancy all the time, but knows deep down that the moms that always look perfect when they leave the house are totally faking it.
We asked Jen for her top five IZ picks:1. Rose Quilt Lap Blanket
This is my very favorite because with the right tucking and a fancy top, I’m dressed, and I look good enough for an evening out. If people can wear jammies to Walmart, I can wear a lap blanket to a wine tasting.
2. Leather Biker Jacket Easy Zip Back
Because, seriously, you guys, leather! And it is so soft and supple and it smells wonderful.
3. Straight Leg Jeans Wrap Waist
These are a favorite. On really bad days, when I am really struggling with my MS, I can still easily wear pants and look presentable.
4. Chino Shorts
An absolute must-have in the Southern heat.
5. Rain cape
I love mine, because dry and warm is so much better than cold and wet! This one is perfect.
** I have to also make an honorable mention to the amazing Hoodie Cape. Everyone needs one of these. Trust me.
Posted onDressing ‘Black, White and Bold’ is so huge that it’s more of a lifestyle than a passing trend.In the sometimes overwhelming world of fashion, there’s something to be said for the monochrome look- It’s buildable, timeless, assertive and cool. Karl Lagerfeld once said, "black and white always looks modern, whatever that word means." And it’s a look he’s loved enough to make his trademark.It’s practically impossible to mess up the perfection of head-to-toe black and white. Keeping your shoes black, white or both is the easiest formula for a put together look as the trend finds power in it’s purity. Accessorizing is simple, with no need to worry about what will coordinate. You can even work in your favorite patterns when you feel like changing it up.With Marc Jacobs delivering a black and white heavy ready to wear collection and Oscar de la Renta bringing black and white to ball gowns, you’re in good company for Spring / Summer 16.
Posted onThis month we start introducing more members of our broad IZ community through guest blogs. The first in our ongoing series is an amazing look at self expression and fashion from the point of view of a new wheelchair user. The writer, Cherry is an artist currently living in Vancouver, Canada."I love how good clothing makes me feel. When clothes fit well, both to my figure and to aesthetics that interest me, it makes me feel solid, real, empowered and of course me.
I'm a relatively new wheelchair user and as any of you will know, using a wheelchair creates new challenges when it comes to fashion and clothing. At times this can be frustrating. Perhaps the most obvious: what fits well and looks good while standing, often doesn't have the same impact while seated. Things fall in the wrong place or interesting details and shapes are lost underneath my bum or crumpled in my lap. As for fitting well, even people who don't use a wheelchair will know that sitting in some garments can be restrictive around the waist and hips, ride up or simply fall down.
Of course, none of this makes mention of how various impairments and situations can affect the way we wear some items. I probably don't need to go into detail here, but disability is vast and complex; different adaptations are needed for many different individuals.
When it came time for me to use a wheelchair, I had been mentally preparing for almost two years as my situation is degenerative. In a way this provided me the luxury of intellectual contemplation of where I would need to make my life adaptive. I call it a luxury because not everyone gets that forewarning and I do so love some intellectual contemplation. Of course all of the 'thinking about it' in the world doesn't prepare someone for the actual lived experience. I was well aware that fashion would be different things obviously look and feel different while seated but that was as far as my forethought went. 'Oh, I'll just have to find things that look good sitting down', I naively thought. The reality is always more complex. Just one example, using my feeding tube with dresses while standing/walking wasn't so difficult; while being seated is a completely different situation.
My experience has also been somewhat comical. Sometimes I have to frantically and stealthily stuff cool looking skirts or dresses into my side guards so they don't get damaged or even become dangerous in the process of being caught! The first time wearing my favourite jeans (that, of course, are designed to sit low on the hip while standing), I proclaimed loudly "THIS is why wheelchair users need adaptive jeans!!!", as the top of my exposed buttocks caught a nasty winter wind.
I live in Vancouver BC, which, outside of the summer months, is rightfully known for being quite wet. Now, let me tell you, people here like to complain about the rain. I come from the UK where it is much, much wetter and I always (proudly) stated that they didn't know true wet weather like the Brits do. I now have a whole new perspective; no one knows rain like wheelchair users know rain. There is something about being seated that means you catch roughly a thousand times more rain drops than you do if you are standing and walking. I tell you, my first outing in a wheelchair in the rain and I was concerned my legs were going to grow gills and become webbed together in some monstrous and thoroughly unwanted evolution. I rushed to the Internet to try and find protection for my poor little legs. This is when I remembered IZ. A friend had told me about them some months before and I'd periodically browsed the store making a mental shopping list. On that mental shopping list was the parka lap blanket. Prior to using a wheelchair full time I was well aware that I would get colder and so would need a blanket. As a fashion conscious 34 year old with a penchant for futuristic cuts and lines I dreaded the idea of wheeling around like the stereotypical image of the elderly with a picnic blanket style bulky fleece wrapped around my lower body. Of course, if you love your picnic blanket keep doing your thing; you do you.
My new lap blanket came and it was beautiful, well made; perfect lines. I adore how it wraps so closely around my form, but is easy to get into while seated and with limited leg control. It was warm too and as a bonus it matched my winter parka. Then the rain came. I crossed all of the fingers I could and headed out into a downpour in the park to test it out. I was out there for a couple of hours and my legs were wonderfully dry and toasty at the end.There are definitely challenges to making fashion work when using a wheelchair. Adaptive clothing goes a long way to overcoming those challenges. Beautiful, stylish and elegant adaptive clothing goes even further. I write here about a few of the challenges I've faced so far, but beyond this is how much fun I've had adapting my wardrobe and honing my fashion tastes. It's refueled my passion for looking good and molding my wardrobe to fit my darker, futuristic interests and tastes. I've also found myself using fashion to break through people's preconceived (and ill-informed) notions of what disability means and what it looks like. Fashion is fun, exciting and empowering."All photographs provided by Cherry.
Posted onLet’s hope you’re not getting tired of the word ‘Athleisure’ because the trend certainly isn’t going anywhere any time soon. In fact, if anything, it’s picking up steam with every season.The sportswear-meets-streetwear blend is all about layering your gym clothes in with ultra stylish pieces, mixing and matching for a look that’s relaxed and confident.Alexander Wang recently collaborated with H&M for a futuristic Athleisure line that was so hugely popular, it sold out almost instantly. Spring 16 Athleisure from Michael Kors has a strong preppy theme too, predominantly in black and white.There is an art to Athleisure- bringing your favorite sweat pants and hoodie out of the house and looking stylish while doing so, means more than just beat-up UGG boots and messy hair.Ladies, add a sporty jacket to your skirt and blouse combination for work, or team our Fashion Joggers with a cropped jacket and running shoes. You can even rock this look on date night, wearing a Hoodie or Hoodie Cape with slim leg jeans or a slip dress. Level up the look by putting some ankle boots on with your cuffed sweats.For guys, the Spring Jacket with Removable Hood is the ultimate transitional piece that looks just as good with sweats as it does with a pair of jeans. If you’re going to wear sneakers, make sure they’re in clean, crisp condition and keep the look sharp with a good watch and a knit hat.
Posted onThere's nothing nicer on warmer weekends than catching up with friends over an indulgent Sunday brunch. Hit your favorite spot for eggs benny and a freshly squeezed juice, in ultimate style with IZ (and a few of our favorite brands). Here's our tips for your best brunch look:GUYS: Plaid is the perfect pattern for brunching and our version is a little dressier than your average, just in case you feel like dining somewhere a little swanky. Paired with our Chino with Cargo Pockets, it keeps the look clean, while the tabbed zipper and velcro flap are perfect for conveniently keeping your wallet secure and your phone on hand to check sports scores. Pierre Hardy Black Leather Slider Sneakers are a great mix of casual and cool, with the added bonus of being easy to wear. Top off your look with a great pair of sunglasses so you can soak up the sun on the patio without breaking a squint. Our pick is Dolce & Gabbana's matte finish square frames with a sneaky extra folding mechanism on the arms and bridge of the nose, so they fit in your awesome pockets too. Win / win.GIRLS: Keeping it high fashion and high comfort is everyone's goal for a Sunday, and the luxurious, elegant drape of our Fashion Jogger is perfect teamed up with the complimentary pop of color from the Printed Shell Top. Michel Kors Sling Back Suede Clogs pair gorgeously with the vibrant print of the top and add the highly sought after suede trend to your look (a matching bag would be even more perfect). Keep your accessorizing simple with one statement piece. A bracelet works best, so you don't distract or compete with the v neckline of the top. We adore the Lafayette cuff by Julie Vos.
Posted onWhat we at IZ love the most about stripes, is that black on white, white on black, subtle or statement, thin or thick, horizontal or vertical, they’re one print that’s always going to be in style. No matter what sex or age, no matter what season or decade, their timeless wear-with-anything quality can be worked into any wardrobe.With the versatility to take you from a business meeting to the beach, stripes continue to maintain their stronghold on runways and look books world wide in Spring / Summer 2016 with romantic looks from Dolce & Gabbana to bold pieces from Valentino. Clean, classic and effortless, you can completely change your stripe look as simply as changing your accessories. Layer them in with blocked colors to compliment your wardrobe. Go for a striped tee with a blazer for a confident, self assured look or soften the outfit with your favorite cardigan.
Posted onAn iconic wardrobe staple since it first came to the fashion mainstream, denim is always stylish and infinitely versatile. For Spring / Summer 2016, designers have been showing fresh new ways to wear the timeless classic, from the casual street style in A.P.C’s ready to wear collection, to the nuanced elegance of Givenchy's latest offering.The latest trend for this season is a cool palette of head-to-toe blues featuring multiple layers, prints and shades. Mix and match your denims effortlessly with textured fabrics in shades of blue like knits and linens. Wool scarves over denim shirts are perfect for transitional weather or pair a casual jean with a navy blazer for a double duty look that suits the workplace or the weekend. Patchwork, studs, embroidery and frayed denim make this look customizable and covetable.Ideal for men and women, this trend is adaptable for everyone, for those that like their style simple, or the statement makers.
Posted onKat is a stylist by day, drummer by night, owner and creator of 'Soft Beat Bags' - super awesome, denim carry-bags for musical instruments, and in her spare time (how does she even have any?!), she hangs out with the IZ Team, helping out on photo shoots, running errands when we're overwhelmed and delivering vegan doughnuts to the studio.Her personal style is a little bit mod, a little bit grunge, mixing classic pieces with quirky finds and is almost always punctuated with a pop of deep red lipstick.Her 5 must-have IZ items are:
I love this cape so much! When it comes to finding the perfect garment, I search for the three ‘F’s” - fashionable, functional and fun. And this rain cape perfectly fulfills all three. It’s sleek and simple yet smart in its design.
Two words define this jacket: Bad Ass. It’s the ultimate leather jacket and a version is available for both women and men. J’adore!
It’s really hard to find the perfect bath robe these days. One that both absorbs and keeps you cozy! This one does the trick!
I absolutely love this garment. So versatile. You can dress it up with our IZ panel jeans or pair it with our yoga pants! It’s a must for any wardrobe.Sorry for the secrecy but I can’t hold in my excitement! The new collection has some of the most fabulous pieces! One in particular will fly off the shelves I’m sure. Comfy and simple yet sexy and fun! Bring it on spring 2016.
Posted onThe Access10 program sees that 10% of every IZ purchase goes to StopGap, an organization with a mission the same as ours - to make the world a more accessible place and to create conversations around accessibility. We all know what a difference having proper access to these spaces can make, but to understand the benefits of the ramps from the other side of things, we had a chat with Jordan Paul, the owner of Opticianado, a business that's been part of the Stop Gap community for as long as it's been around.Opticianado, a super cool space in The Junction, Toronto, looks almost more like a coffee shop or a bar than it does an optometrists. It opened four and a half years ago, around the same time that Luke Anderson was bringing his Stop Gap project to the area. He says that by the time he met Luke, the entire community was already buzzing about the Colored Ramp project."We've had our ramp almost as long as we've been a store and it's part of our daily routine. Rain, hail, snow or shine, we put it out when we open the shop and we bring it in at the end of the day. It's stood up to time even better than a sandwich board would"While the step into Opticianado from the street is not a large one, at just two and a half inches, it is still enough to be a needless barrier between Jordan and potential customers. "As soon as I heard about Stop Gap, I thought it was a great idea. The process of getting a Ramp was super easy, they came and measured, and then it was done. It's such a simple solution, not just for wheelchair users, but for strollers, deliveries on dollys. It's a safe, quick accessibility option for everyone. Even the bright color makes it a talking point and attracts attention.""The impact has been very positive. I can't think of a reason not to have it" Jordan concludes.Opticianado are one of 800+ businesses in North America that have already taken the opportunity to become part of the inclusive movement and make their space and services an option for everyone in their community.You can find them at @Opticianado or opticianado.comFor more information on Access10, see: izcollection.com/pages/access10To find out more about StopGap, visit: stopgap.ca/
Posted onYou may already know that all of our Coats, Capes and Jackets are designed exclusively to fit and compliment the seated frame. What you may not know is that each piece contains thoughtful and discreet functionality aspects that make dressing even easier without compromising on fashion.Our Leather Biker Jackets for both Men and Women feature zips at the wrist that not only look incredible, but also widen the openings for anyone that may experience difficulty with sleeves.The Funnel Neck Coat looks chic and sophisticated with hidden magnetic closures, which also make closing the coat effortless for those who may have limited dexterity.Even our Rain Coats have an ingenious optional flap that attaches to the back via zip and keeps water from running down the back of your chair.All of this, plus our signature cut and drape make IZ Outerwear much better than the average winter fashion.
Posted onRussell Winkelaar has a gentle, assured presence about him. As someone who has what he calls 'the gift of a lot of free time', he focuses his life on following his day-to-day passions, which can change as often as the weather does. A dedicated and quietly passionate disability activist, rather than committing to overwhelming, lengthy tasks, he chooses to float between short projects, preferring to bask in other people's enterprises, especially eager to help out friends with different things they're working on.One of those such projects is Access Now - a global mapping service concepted by his pal Maayan Ziv that shows the accessibility of venues and restaurants at a glance. Still in it's early stages, Russell has attended numerous events to add his voice to the conversation expressing the importance of the service, as well as being involved in pinning as many locations as possible.He's also been engaged in work with Stop Gap Ramps, done talks for university students on the topic of sexuality and disability, played wheelchair basketball, sledge hockey and been an actor both on stage, and on screen.Russell's acting in particular is a topic that inspires enthusiasm from him. "I really want to influence the representation of people with disabilities. It's important to me to be authentic in that."He got into acting around three years ago, when an opportunity arose to be part of the scripted comedy web series My Gimpy Life. Last year, he was a cast member of the highly acclaimed Borne, a play by Judith Thompson based on the common experience of being a wheelchair user. Currently, Russell is working on another series Out With Dad and has plans to expand his resume and pursue acting further."At this point I just accept everything that comes my way. I've always wanted to do it, but I just want a little more experience under my belt before I seek out an agent or anything like that."In general, Russell aspires to bring awareness to the difficulties that society has put upon wheelchair users and share his life experiences in a meaningful and positive way.The apartment in Liberty Village he shares with his girlfriend Veronika is filled with the sounds of The National and Leonard Cohen as he invites our team in for photographs.Russell's personal style is shaped predominately by his desire to be comfortable. "Fashion doesn't interrupt function for me" he shrugs, though for someone who seems unfussed by trends and fast fashion, his style is very decided and unique. He enjoys color, in both his physical space and in his outfits, never shying away from heavy textures and bold patterns.His flat lay is, in his own words "A snapshot of me on any given day."1. Custom Made Toque"This is from a place in the Distillery District (Toronto) where I went in, picked the different color pieces, the lady told me to go and grab a coffee and by the time I got back, it was ready. That was three years ago. I've worn it threadbare since then."2. Swiss Army Knife"I always have one of these on me. My dad gave me my first one when I was ten and I've lost about 6 of them since then. This one unfortunately doesn't have a cork screw in it, which is important!"3. Cup and Ball"I've been heavily interested in cup and ball for six or seven years" [while he was talking, Russell gave an effortless demonstration of his amazing cup and ball skills] "I actually made a ton of these in my basement for everyone I know. My room mate and I turned them on a lathe and I did the wood burning myself. It was a failed attempt to get my friends into it."4. Water Flask"I abhor bottled water with a firey passion, so this is just another part of my style that's dictated by function. I never leave home without this. It's my favorite color."5. Coin Purse"I'm quite drawn to things that are natural, hand made. Especially local. I love to support local food, art, clothing and accessories. This is embossed leather, hand sewn. it looks better with age."6. Passport"This is included to speak to my personality, rather than my personal style, but I feel there's a lot of overlap with those two things. My whole family has been bitten by the travel bug. We inherited it from my Opa. I want to travel as much as I can for as long as I can and I'm very lucky to enjoy that luxury."7. Gloves"Gloves are essentially my shoes. I'm forever on the look out for a good, custom pair that can stand up to using a manual wheelchair, but at the moment I just use mechanic's gloves from a hardware store and I go through about a pair a week.""I think this was my first IZ piece. I always wanted a badass leather jacket, like what my dad wore. He was a motorcycle guy. This was the first one I ever had and I love it. This is never going to go out of style."
Posted onNicole is the newest member of the IZ team, working with our production and shipping team while brightening the studio like a ray of sunshine. She keeps everyone smiling and makes the best cup of tea. Nicole’s personal style revolves around textures, natural fabrics and rich, fall colors peppered with cute prints.Here are her top 5 IZ picks from Fall:“I love the cut and fit of this. The two completely different looks with the collar open Vs with the collar closed, is like having two coats in one. The magnets are hidden which gives it a real sophisticated look. ”"This is my favorite piece in the entire IZ collection. Every wardrobe needs a good print and stripes are always in style. It's a classic look, and the longer sleeves make this perfect for every season.""Such a versatile piece that every wardrobe should have. The texture adds not only warmth but depth to every outfit and they can make even sweat pants look stylish!""These are everything- Unique, comfortable and effortlessly cool. I have to get one for myself!""Who doesn't want the look of jeans with the comfort of leggings? It's so easy to dress these up or down. The extra stretch means they fit every body type "
Posted onAll of our clothes are thoughtfully designed for wheelchair users but not everyone has the same abilities. For some, assisted dressing can be challenging so we've created pieces that make it a breeze for anyone. And of course, are stylish too.Our Easy Zip Back option in coats is just one way that we're making layering up and staying warm easier than ever. Discreet zippers in the back mean that Easy Zip Back coats separate into two individual pieces. Even with limited arm mobility, each side of the coat is easily slipped on before they are connected. Taking it off is just as simple. The arched back reduces the need for leaning forward to fasten the zipper and also eliminates excess fabric behind, but there's no exposure to the elements thanks to the back rest of your chair.Our signature 'L-Shape' means that IZ coats have the length you need over your lap while looking sleek and clean so you don't sacrifice your style.Pictured below, some of our coat options also have Magnetic closures that not only look sophisticated, but make life easier if you have difficulty with buttons.With fashion this forward and functional, there's no need to compromise. IZ has you covered.
Posted onIf you're an IZ customer, you probably know Belle. She's on the front line, managing social media, customer relations, sitting behind a wall of empty coffee cups, generally being Izzy's side kick and making sure the entire team eats way too much Vietnamese food every week. She's smart, sincere, self-assured and laughs too loud when no one else gets the joke. This month, we all get to know her a little better.After spending the best part of a decade traveling and freelance writing for different publications, chasing tour buses around the UK, Europe, Japan, The USA and Australia covering live music, Belle stayed at home in Adelaide, long enough to study psychology. "I was getting to the end of my degree and I wasn't sure about next steps or where to take it. I wasn't feeling super motivated for more study or settling down. Some friends of mine that were moving kind of put the idea of Canada into my head and then I had to do give it a shot. Having lived in North America for short periods of time, in LA and New York, I felt like attitudes and laws around disability were so different here to Australia. I wanted to be a part of that for a little longer than a few months." Along with her roommate, she organized a VISA, bought a plane ticket and after some luck or fate or whatever you want to call it, she found herself behind a desk at IZ."Toronto has been really good to me and for me. I couldn't ask for a better team at work, I've met some incredible people. If I could transport my dog over here and a handful of friends, it'd be perfect. I have to include my mum in that too. In case she sees this. I do miss her a lot."After falling in love with the city, Belle is currently looking at avenues to stay for as long as she can."It's hard. I love decorating. My house in Australia was filled with things that were very me, but not knowing if I'm going to be able to stay here... I don't want to invest too much in furnishings and things. Starting from scratch in a new country, after moving with nothing but a suitcase is super liberating, but I don't want to form attachments with more things if I'll have to leave them all behind again."She explains from her apartment in The Junction. "I call this place 'I don't know if I can extend my visa' chic. Fairly minimalist for the time being." The links to home are obvious, photos of family and friends and the puppy she had to leave behind with her parents are everywhere.When asked what one of the unexpectedly hard things about moving so far away is, she laughs."Finding a new hairdresser and a new tattoo artist. You put a lot of trust in those people. My Hairdresser and my Tattoo Artist at home are both also great friends of mine. I was so reluctant to move on. It still feels like I'm cheating."Outside of work these days, she keeps things pretty low key. "My huge days of partying are in the past. mostly, sort of... Trying out new vegan restaurants, getting a quiet glass of whiskey with a friend. Binge watching Netflix and Louis Theroux documentaries with a cup of tea. That's my idea of a good time."Belle's style highlights are a carefully curated, edgy mix of Rock and Roll with designer luxury.The majority of blacks and greys in her wardrobe only serve to highlight her colorful hair and even brighter personality.1. Hermès Scarf"My style revolves around a lot of classic basics. Black skinny jeans, over sized tees. Scarves are a perfect, easy way to change up a look. This Hermès scarf was a gift from someone special to remind me to always be a little ostentatious."2. Book (Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Hilburn)"I've been a bit of a bookworm ever since I was a kid, so leaving my entire personal library behind when I moved countries was hard. I thought about making the switch completely to e-books for ease of traveling with my collection, but there's just a feeling about proper books that I love. I just picked this up the other day so I'm not far in, but it's great so far."3. Marc Jacobs Sunglasses"These are my favorites, I adore Marc Jacobs. I got them a year or so ago on a trip to New York and every time I think about updating to new sunglasses, I can never find anything I like more. They're perfect. When you're onto a good thing, stick to it, right?"4. Statement Necklace"This is a little like the scarf thing. I'm obsessed with statement necklaces right now. I never make huge investments in them though, because I like updating often. My roommate is always stealing them too."5. IZ Boucle Cape"Capes are amazing, and this one is everything I want out of a piece of clothing. It's black, it's got gorgeous texture, an amazing neck line, it's super easy to wear, it's dramatic. I never want to take it off."6. Chloé Eau de Parfum"Style isn't always something that you can see. I love having a signature scent. Chloé has been my staple for a few years now. It has notes of so many of my favouites: peony, freesia, lychee, magnolia, rose, cedarwood and amber. Amazing."7. Fashion IZ Freedom Tee"This is the best part of my job! Getting to be involved with such a cool and important campaign. Too often Disability is thought of as unsexy and unfashionable while fashion has been thought of as shallow and narcissistic. Fashion IZ Freedom is out here, making a difference for the community and proving all these misconceptions wrong. I'm really about that."8. Records (Fleetwood Mac, Rumours)"Music is so influential to everyone, I know. But it's been such a huge part of my life, being a music writer for a long time while I was traveling in my twenties. I am so, so dreading the day my iPod Classic dies. I don't even want to think about it. This particular album is everything, I love the art work. It's going up on a wall in my apartment."9. iPhone 5."This is a little tacky, to have as part of my personal style. I'm not really a tech person or an apple fanatic, but I'm a social media addict. Comes with my job territory. Plus being half way around the world from family and friends.. It's my main connection home. My phone is always in my hand so it kind of had to be included here. I have a Harry Styles (of One Direction) phone cover that one of my best friends gave me when I moved to Toronto. It's quite a conversation starter. Most of those conversations end with people laughing at me but I have zero shame. What a dream boat."10. Black Ankle Boots."When you shop exclusively in the kid's section for shoes, finding something as badass as these is like winning the superbowl of shopping. They're a little pointy, kind of suede look, lace up. I found them at home in Aus just before I moved and I'm so in love with them."
Posted onBeing a wheelchair user can often mean a lot of compromises in life. Sometimes your morning coffee choice is decided by which storefront is accessible, and not who pulls the best espresso shot. Sometimes concert tickets are dictated by available space and not how early you line up for your favorite band..When it comes to something as essential to self-expression as fashion, no one should have to settle.Comfort and function are both core elements when designing IZ collections, but just how does IZ differ from standard clothing?Clothing for the seated frame is not an after thought or an alteration at IZ. After extensive research and development, patterns are completely re-imagined from conception to make all the necessary accommodations. These allowances don't just make IZ clothing easier to wear, they smooth out lines to make garments appear cleaner and more chic while they're on.From top to toe, the differences are discreet but significant. Tops are cut in an A-line to allow for a little extra width while seated. Optional Open Back features make dressing a whole lot easier for those that have difficulty with sleeves or arm raising. Capes are an equally simple and sophisticated way to add an extra layer for warmth.IZ pants are completely unique. From the unmistakable signature cut that adjusts the height of the waistband so it doesn't slip down at the back or bunch in the front, right down to the small details like the angle of the pockets and hidden zipper options, there is a style to suit everyone. Even seam placement has been taken into account to ensure that folds, wrinkles and other nasty bumps are no longer underneath you.No aspect is overlooked. Wrap Waist Pants can even eliminate the need to stand or be lifted entirely, making a world of difference to the time and level of assistance needed to change.In a world where 'fast fashion' is on the decline, having quality classics designed exclusively for you is essential.
Posted onEmma is our Production Manager’s Assistant and a key member of the IZ team; always running around the studio, working on garment creation, getting orders out the door and making sure everything is running smoothly. Her personal style is a mash up of 50’s pin-up and 70’s rock with a modern twist.Her top 5 Favorite IZ Items right now are:“This pattern is so current for fall and it’s designed perfectly to look sleek while seated. The slits in the front and the little pockets are my favorite part. Super sophisticated and cool.”“The Faux leather panels at the sides give this classic skirt an awesome edge, but it’s still really versatile. It’s my favorite piece in the entire collection.”“I want this coat so bad! The color is perfect – a nice change from winter black. Any guy that puts this coat on is going to look super handsome and put together.”“It’s almost not fair that something that looks so badass would be so comfortable. The coated denim almost looks like leather but with amazing softness and stretch. ”“This is a product I’ve been excited about for months. I wear mine proudly all the time! It’s insanely comfortable and a stylish way to support an awesome cause that’s really important to me. ”
Posted onYou can now view the entire award-winning mini documentary Common Thread on YouTube!The 12-minute piece centers around our designer Izzy Camilleri and the magnificent Fashion Follows Form exhibition that celebrated her unique work at the Royal Ontario Museum last year.
Posted onFinding a time to catch up with Joanne Smith is almost impossible. In fact, just keeping track of her busy schedule is exhausting, but finally getting to spend time with her – it’s easy to see why this lady is in such high demand.
Instantly warm and gracious, her beautiful home in The Beaches reflects her style and sophistication.
“I really love this area. Strolling along the beach, biking, there’s always a lot going on and a lot to do.” She mentions as her gorgeous Poodle Pierre makes himself comfortable on the couch nearby. “There’s a lot of great restaurants too.”
A Certified Nutritionist, Joanne’s national nutrition company Fruitful Elements specializes in providing services to individuals with spinal cord and brain injuries, chronic pain, digestive dysfunction, as well as weight loss/gain.
She’s an accomplished writer, having co-authored ‘Eat Well Live Well with Spinal Cord Injury & Other Neurological Conditions’, and is also a regular nutrition columnist for New Mobility, PN, Sports n’ Spokes and Outspoken magazines.
While nutrition keeps her busy enough- presenting at conferences and sharing her incredible knowledge, in addition to this, Joanne has hosted and produced two national television programs focused on telling in-depth stories about Canadians with disabilities, the award winning CBC show Moving On, and Accessibility in Action.
Somehow, amongst all those commitments, she volunteers and mentors for numerous disability focus organizations including SCI Ontario, Lyndhurst Rehabilitation Center, Canadian Spinal Research Organization and the Easter Seals.
For someone who’s personality is so bright, Joanne admits that her style is pretty conservative. “I’m really a Jeans and Tee Shirt every day kind of person. I like simplicity.”
Her style highlights are well curated and much like her: classy and elegant.1. Peep Toe Heels
“I always wear heels. I get laughed at a lot for it because people think it’s funny since I’m always sitting down, but there’s actually important functionality to them! Early on when I broke my back, my legs would move too much while I was wheeling my chair and I found that hooking heels onto my foot rests kept them in place. Now I have customized foot rests just for the heels!”
2. Wide Brim Hat
“I love hats - from baseball caps to wide brims to little fascinators. They’re great for bad hair days and very easily completely change an outfit, so they’re a big part of my style. I tend to buy them wherever I travel. I got this one in Savannah, Georgia and it’s fantastic.”
3. Silver Necklace
“I’m tetraplegic and because of this, I don’t change my jewelry often. This necklace is simple and elegant and goes with everything. It also has special memories attached. It came from my Cousin from England who is like a sister to me. She gave it to me 20 or 25 years ago. It was her that helped me through when I had my accident. This necklace is a great reminder of her support and a source of strength for me.”
4. IZ Dress Pants
“I do a lot of MC-ing and I host a lot of events. I do love dresses but they’re a pain for me, so my IZ Dress Pants are the perfect outfit solution for those occasions. These don’t just look great, they’re comfortable so it’s perfect.”
5. Patterned Scarf
“I find that being in a chair, putting on layers is difficult. Especially when I’m super busy.. which is always. I like to keep my clothing choices as simple as possible: tees and jeans are my staple, so a scarf is a great and quick way to dress up anything. I throw on a nice scarf and I’m ready for a meeting or whatever the day brings… You could say I have a scarf addiction.”
6. Eat Well, Live Well - Book.
“I co-authored this book and it’s really my Bible. It was the first nutrition book written specifically for people with spinal cord injuries or other neurological conditions. Most of my clients have traumatic brain injuries or spinal injuries and so I always have this with me.”
7. Heeled Boots.
“This is another pair that are some favorites of mine. One thing about being a chair user – Your shoes go out of style before they wear out!”
Posted onTim Rose is engaging from the minute you meet him. Equally as warm as he is witty, he has a great story or a well thought out opinion about almost every topic you can throw his way, but when talking to him, it doesn’t take long for conversation to turn to his true passion: Disability advocacy.
While studying at Carleton University in Ottawa, he was the head of the Disability Awareness Centre and following his graduation he and his wife Natalie started a charitable organization that is now known as The Rose Center for Love, Sex and Disability to encourage positive discussion around disability and sexuality. Three years later, it was the logical next step for Tim to take his skills and his entrepreneurial nature and turn it into Disability Positive Consulting – a business that aims to help other businesses and organizations utilize a mix of public speaking, consultation and web content to highlight the power and potential of a disability positive approach. As part of his work with DPC, Tim has started a blog that covers a new topic every week, one of which was his more recent discovery of a love and appreciation of fashion.“Fashion used to be so not a part of my life, and now I really like it. I enjoy going shopping and it’s a huge part of who I am.”
He writes, “Both (Fashion and Disability) have a lot to do with appearance and perception. We are often judged by our disabilities, just as we are often judged by our clothing and style. Second, in both fashion and disability, trend setting and pushing boundaries play a major role. Lastly, both are incredibly multi-faceted, seeping into every day life in cool and unexpected ways. Fashion and disability are sometimes seen as strange bedfellows, and yet they have some great links.”Tim is also, by his own confession, a proud geek at heart, (His Gryffindor scarf only just missed out on making the cut for this feature) and an unashamed Reality TV addict.
It makes perfect sense that Tim’s style reflects his personality with bold color choices, and well edited pieces that merge fun and sophistication by blending ‘nerd culture’ with custom couture.A fantastic writer and captivating public speaker, his fierce dedication to changing perceptions around disability and his passion for life and human rights is already making waves.. Though this is only the beginning.
We took a look at a snapshot of Tim’s style highlights.1. IZ Hooded Parka
“This Hooded Parka is my newest and most worn IZ piece. Actually, it’s my most worn article of clothing in general. It’s definitely my wardrobe staple. I’m in it all the time, especially walking the dog in the colder months. It’s so nice and warm in the freezing cold Canadian winter. Everyone should have one.”
2. Disability Positive Consulting Business Card
“I’m so proud of this. It’s my new professional venture. My brother designed this card for me and I think it looks great. The goal with DPC is to take a disability positive approach to life and business. That’s what I think IZ stands for too.”
3 & 4. Custom IZ Wedding Vest / Rush’s Bow tie
“Green was mine and Natalie’s color for a long time, so it was the obvious choice for the color theme for our wedding. This vest is one of the most important pieces of clothing I’ll ever have. I love the bold color choice because it really stands out from the black of my chair.
Rush, my special skills service dog was our ring bearer in a matching green bow tie. He looked great and of course, so did I.”
5. Children’s Book ‘The Knight in Protective Wheelchair Padding’.
“This sits on a shelf in our living room.. The story is really special. It was actually written by me for Natalie on our first Christmas together. As a present to Natalie for Christmas last year, my brother secretly illustrated it for her. It was even one of the three readings done at our wedding.”
6. Wildhagen Hat
“This amazing hat is from a company Called Wildhagen that’s made in Toronto. I picked it up at the One Of A Kind Show. I always wanted to be a hat guy – my brother is a hat guy, but my headrest usually gets in the way and knocks hats off my head or makes them crooked or uncomfortable. This one is custom fitted and worth every cent because it stays in place.”
7. Bright Blue Outfit
“This combination is my go-to outfit when I’m feeling really bright and out there. I wore it when I was the judge at one of the the Tell Me Something Good sexy story contests which was a fun time.”
8. Rush’s Working Coat
“While this isn’t actually a part of my style, it’s Rush’s, and he’s always with me in his red coat when he’s working and we're out. ”
9. Striped Scarf
“This was given to me by my father in law and it’s also a really important piece in my wardrobe. I used to wear a lot of oversized clothing, stuff that was easy for attendants but not complimentary on me at all. This was the first item I owned that I saw as ‘fashionable’ or as a trendy statement piece and it really encouraged me. It started me on the path of caring more about how I look.”
10. Harry Potter Audio Book
“I love these books. Order Of the Phoenix is close to my favorite. I’ve listened to it / read it a dozen times. I had to include something that represents my geek side.”Pictures (from the top):
1. Tim in the living room of his apartment.
2. A series of Tim and his wife Natalie (L-R: engagement photo shoot, from the children's book Tim wrote, their wedding day)
3. View of the Toronto Skyline from Tim's balcony.
4. Flat Lay of Tim's fashion highlights.
5. A close up of Tim's book shelf.
6. Rush, the Special Skills Service Dog and the third member of the Rose family.
Posted onThe charming yet particularly humble Luke Anderson is embarking on a year of personal change. A structural engineer since he graduated in 2002, Luke has always been a natural problem solver, so when faced with issues of accessibility, especially to smaller businesses around Toronto, the StopGap Ramp Project was born.
Initially a project that he developed in his spare time, the demand and importance of the purpose built, brightly painted wooden ramps became all too apparent through not just the immediate problems they solved, but also the dialogue they created around the human right of equal access.As part of the ‘Agents For Change Program’, Luke has taken a huge leap from his regular 9-5 and is now dedicating himself full-time to StopGap from his brand new desk at the Center for Social Innovation.
“When you expose yourself to change, you open the door to opportunity.” He explained. “To change, you have to overcome a fear of the unknown. When you expose yourself to new things you become a more enriched person. ”
Away from his not for profit endeavors, Luke is an outdoorsy kind of guy. He spent a lot of his youth on or around bicycles and has since become the proud owner of a super cool Vintage VW van that he camps in during the warmer months of the year.His personal style reflects his friendly and easy going personality, peppering his generally smart casual wardrobe with unusual prints and fun accent pieces.
Relentless energy and charisma are sure to see his dedication to a barrier-free society pay off in a distinctly Luke Anderson kind of way.
We took a look into a few of his style highlights.1. IZ Adaptive Jeans
“These are life savers. I’ve had them for about four years now and they’re some seriously sweet pants. I actually came to find IZ Adaptive through my ramp project working in the area where the studio is located. I’d never been there before then and I’m so glad I found them. Struggling with other pants is not the way it has to be. They improved my quality of life, they look better than any other jeans and they gave me new found self confidence.”
2. 2014 Access Equity Human Rights Award
“Recently StopGap was honored with this award that celebrates contributors to equality. It’s so nice that the city is recognizing our work as a good thing, but what do you do with something like that? I keep it in my living room. It creates conversation.”
“My Panda sunglasses are awesome.. They’re made from Bamboo, which is really cool. I like the way they’ve been crafted and I appreciate the classic design. They’re something a little different but the brand is eco friendly and that really speaks to my green aesthetic. This pair came from a buddy’s shop that sadly isn’t around anymore.”
4. Bow tie
“Classic! Timeless! I Love it. I think really, not enough people wear them. They’ve recently become a solid part of my wardrobe. This one in particular is from Harry Rosen. I saw it, I instantly liked the pattern and the softness of the material and had to have it.“
5. Valve from 1973 Volkswagen Camper Van
“These things are notorious for breaking down and needing to be replaced. I love my car. This broken valve just looks cool. I keep it on a shelf in my house because it’s a bit of a conversation piece too.”
6. Bike tools
“I have a deep rooted history with bikes. I’ve enjoyed working on bikes since I was a kid- Changed my first flat at six or seven. I used to really love working with hands. Unfortunately, I’m unable to do it now but can use that knowledge to teach people how to fix bikes themselves. In summer I’m a volunteer mechanic at ‘Bike Pirates’. It’s so much fun. I really struggled for a long time with what to do with the knowledge and passion for bikes, so I really love that opportunity. The tools I keep around my house are to help friends. They come around, we have dinner and I help them fix their bikes.”
7. Los Angeles Dodgers cap
“This is simple.. I don't really care for the dodgers, but the cap has my initials! I have a few of these actually. The pictured one was a gift from a friend of mine. It’s a very summery print. I obviously Wear it with my mankini, to the beach, around the house, to work.. everywhere.”
8. Engineering ring
“I got this ring when I graduated and have worn it every day since. The idea is to wear it on your working hand. It’s to constantly remind you of your due diligence to hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public.”
9. Stencil for branding StopGap Ramps
“They’re part of my life by default, I have bunches of them lying around the house. These are great. They’re laser cut and easily mailed out to each individual community ramp project. The stencils are an important part because it’s such an easy way for people to learn more – it directs them right to the website. They’re a key part of awareness raising”