i-D Vice: Fashion is finally paying attention to differently-abled bodies
“With their respective backgrounds in industrial design and architecture, McCauley Wanner and Ryan Palibroda co-founded Alleles, the Canadian design studio that creates custom prosthetic covers to empower amputees through self-expression. “We are a design studio first and foremost and always have been, but at the same time we’re offering a prosthetic product,” says McCauley. “So, we’ve had to do a lot of educating within the very technical industry about the psychology of fashion, and how effective it can be for healing and recovering from an amputation, and how the individual is perceived by others when they leave the clinic.” For McCauley and Ryan, a priority is to make sure style never takes a backseat to functionality, which is why their ready-to-wear pieces come in a kaleidoscopic range of colors and prints including camo, flora and fauna, and skull and crossbones.
“Fashion designers are supposed to be super creative and visual, to be able to find beauty in anything,” says McCauley, yet she and Ryan have found that to be far from the case. “We look at someone with a different body type, and we see these traits as cool and beautiful. We think of all the pieces we can come up with to emphasize or showcase that beauty. It’s crazy that more designers don’t see that as something worth designing for, or something interesting, or something that can actually be profitable from a business standpoint,” she adds.”
Written by Jane Helpern for i-D
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