Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Fashion IZ Freedom...

The reason I appear stoned is because I am high...ON LIFE!

Before you all start reciting Justin Bieber lyrics at me ("What do you mean?"), let me explain what the title of this blog is going on about and why I have decided to upload a picture of 'Wheelchair Boy' wearing a t-shirt with the statement on. Basically, a Canadian designer called Izzy Camilleri has decided to launch a new campaign to raise funds and awareness for accessibility called 'Access10'. As the founder of IZ, a provider of sophisticated and functional clothing for people using wheelchairs, she will give 10% of total gross sales towards building ramps in communities across North America. One example is StopGap, a charity who organize teams to build brightly coloured ramps.

As for why I have took a 'seated selfie', it is because I really wanted to be part of this campaign. In previous posts, I have mentioned issues with accessibility at various places and that the only way for change to happen is to raise awareness.  I hope that by wearing the Fashion IZ Freedom’ t-shirt, 'Wheelchair Boy' will be able to help spread the message of what, I think you will agree, is a great initiative. It is really commendable that unlike most people in business, Camileri is giving back.

Buying clothes when you are in a wheelchair is extremely difficult, especially when you are a bit on the chunky side. Whether it is trying to buy shirts that are big enough at the back but not too baggy everywhere else or jackets that are easy to put on and take off, normal high street retailers do not consider disabled customers when designing a new clothing line. Dr. Alex Palmer, from the Royal Ontario Museum, agrees with my point; “For centuries and across the globe, fashion has been designed to hang off a standing figure.  IZ has revolutionized this history by making fashions that are designed for sitting. This is a truly innovative line that transforms lives and the history of pattern making.”

Obviously, is not the first adaptive clothing website but what makes it stand out in my mind is that the designs are stylish. Normally, clothes specifically made for disabled people look like they have come from a wardrobe in a retirement home. At the grand old age of 22, I do not want to dress like a pensioner (no offence if you are over 65). According to Izzy Camileri,“IZ was created to give people with disabilities access to beautiful fashion" and I think rightly so because being wheelchair bound does not mean you should not look your best.The editor-in-Chief of Zoomer magazine, Suzanne Boyd echoed my thoughts by admitting that “Fashion isn't the most inclusive world, but everyone should have the ability to look and therefore feel their best.”

This final part may come as a shock but the woman behind the collection and subsequent campaign is not actually disabled (which makes the work she is doing to help disabled people even more impressive). Izzy Camilleri, is one of Canada’s most celebrated fashion designers, and has dressed A-list stars like Angelina Jolie, David Bowie, Jennifer Lopez, and Meryl Streep. In 2004, a well-known journalist and wheelchair user contacted Izzy and asked her to design functional clothing that was also fashionable – something that certainly did not exist at the time. IZ started from there and now, 12 years on, she is still producing style-savvy adaptable clothing created purposefully for a seated frame.

This has got me thinking. Who is up for 'Wheelchair Boy' tees?

Bye for now!


  1. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
    Transport Wheelchair

    Keep Posting:)

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