What Happens When You Treat Prosthetics As Accessories
“Since their invention (which dates back to 950 B.C.E.), prosthetics have served one purpose: function. But unlike other functional aids, like glasses, that have become fashion accessories, too, prosthetics have mostly been meant to be as invisible as possible. The Alleles Design Studio, a Canada-based creative duo revamping the traditional prosthetic limb, is leading the charge to change that.
Art director McCauley Wanner and technology director Ryan Palibroda are not prosthetists or prosthetic wearers, nor do they come from typical fashion design backgrounds. But their mission is simple: to turn prosthetics into something that adds to a look, instead of disappearing within it, or distracting from it. And that’s why their prosthetic covers are so important.
Starting at $325, the products, which slip atop a prosthesis like a boot to add design elements from the geometric and high-tech looking to plaid, floral, and even color-blocked patterns, are bespoke and comprised of different types of ABS plastic (a durable, lightweight, flexible, cleanable, and easily modifiable material). They have already been seen on the runway. And in 2014, Wanner and Palibroda won the Emerging Fashion Designers of Canada award.
We spoke to the masterminds of the Alleles Design Studio about everything from how they started, why their work is important, and how they’re influencing the world of prosthetic fashion. See what they have to say, ahead, as well as a selection of their offerings.”