“I always had a love for fashion and a disdain for people who thought it was frivolous and meaningless,” Wanner explains to Mashable. She wanted to highlight the importance of fashion and how powerful it is in forming self-identity. “Our product really has nothing to do with being part of a prosthetic…It has to do with getting dressed,” a daily decision every person makes regardless of their body differences.
“Amputees start looking at their prosthetics differently; it just becomes another part of their wardrobe,” Wanner says. “They can switch them in and out, they can wear them for different occasions.”
“No longer did I feel my leg was a big, bulky jumble of metal and carbon fiber,” Aria Galauski, a 17-year-old with a below-the-knee amputation, tells Mashable. “I never wanted to hide the fact that I was an amputee; “I wanted to emphasize it and be proud of it. I love knowing that there are people out there that also think it’s important to identify with your prosthetics, to overcome disability and to take control and claim beauty and individuality.”
“There are options for amputees when it comes to prosthetist covers, but what sets the Alleles apart is the affordable price point, durability and cool designs,” Michelle Salt, an Alleles customer with an over-the-knee amputation, tells Mashable.
“My first cover was this awesome floral design,” she recalls. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m a snowboarder. This is not me.’ But then McCauley put me in this cute dress and a pair of heels and I realized I had been missing the feminine side of me that the covers were bringing out again.”
Salt’s cover became a part of her closet, taking what was once an inconvenience and turning it into something she could incorporate into her personal style.
“We always thought fashion can really influence what’s going on in prosthetics, but now I feel like it is switching,” Palibroda explains. “We can take what we have done with prosthetics and start influencing fashion…We want to blur the line between prosthetics and fashionable clothing.”
Instead of weird stares or inappropriate personal questions about amputations, those wearing an Alleles cover say they often receive positive comments; people ask where they purchased it.
Scotti Trinler, a 37-year-old with an above-the-knee amputation, tells Mashable he will not go outside without wearing his Alleles cover.
“People approach and ask me questions [about the cover] instead of just staring at it,” he says.
Along with gaining confidence by the overall look of the cover, users also get a greater control over the narrative they tell about their amputation. Suddenly, disability isn’t the focus of the conversation. Their fashion sense takes center stage.
“Going from being a fitness model to an above-knee amputee covered in scars was not easy, but now I feel as though I have something to show off,” Salt says. “My confidence just wasn’t there when I met McCauley and Ryan. But since, I have embraced how I look and enjoy being an amputee. I love rocking my prosthetic and getting dressed up for occasions, which is something I thought I would struggle with.”
Wanner says, “An amputation does not have to define someone’s personality or their life.”