Posted on Saturday May 2, 2020
Clothing that has not been adapted for a person with disabilities can cause challenges and difficulty when getting dressed. IZ Adaptive was created by Izzy Camilleri to serve wheelchair users and people with limited mobility and dexterity. Most of their clothing is designed for wheelchair and Amigo users. This adaptive clothing company has made fashion accessible to all, and is changing fashion for Amigo users.
Izzy started making handicapped-accessible fashion pieces in 2007 when she met Barbara Turnbull. When the Toronto Star journalist was paralyzed from the neck down and was looking for a warm winter cape when she was introduced to Izzy, which is what made her realize that she could create clothing with a purpose rather than high-fashion designer clothing. Izzy went all-in on IZ Adaptive clothing and focused on making a difference in people’s lives and fashionable clothing for wheelchair users.
In 2009, IZ Adaptive clothing was launched and offers features to help make getting dressed easier, while also allowing you to express your own personal style. Your clothing should not create challenges or add limits to your everyday life, fashion for Amigo users shouldn’t be compromised.
Adaptive pants are designed and cut specifically for sitting in a wheelchair or Amigo. While regular pants are designed for standing, IZ adaptive pants are designed to follow the line of a seated body. Persons with disabilities are unable to stand and relieve the discomfort and pressure around the waist that regular pants tend to cause. Elastic added to the back of these pants helps alleviate that common pressure for those sitting all day.
Bulky seams and back pockets can potentially lead to pressure sores from sitting all day. Finding pants in a soft yet durable fabric can help avoid these pressure sores. That, along with the following features, can be found in these pant options to help make getting dressed easier and more comfortable:
- Extra-long pull tabs on zipper pulls
- Hook-and-bar closure instead of a button and buttonhole at the waist
- Pull tabs or belt loops to help pull up pants while dressing
- Fully elastic waists which offer further comfort and are easier to put on
- A longer front zipper that reaches farther down
- Openings below the knee either with zippers, magnets, snaps, or Velcro
- Zippers or other fasteners all the way up the side seams
Shirts do not cause the same challenges for persons with disabilities as pants, but buttons can prove to be a challenge. IZ Adaptive has found a solution to this challenge by offering shirts that feature magnets or snaps in place of buttons to make fastening them easier. They have also designed tops that open fully in the back for those unable to raise their arms.
No one should have to sacrifice their style or comfort due to a disability. A-Line shaped tops fit more comfortably and looser in the tummy and hip areas, so there will be no uncomfortable pulling when sitting in your wheelchair or Amigo. Slits are also incorporated into the sides of some designs for both added fashionable touches and comfort.
Coats and Capes
Just as with shirts, coats with larger buttons, magnets, or snaps can make getting dressed easier. The challenge of having to fasten buttons will sometimes cause persons with disabilities to go without a winter coat, which can cause additional health issues. But the average coat will pull around the waist and bunch up uncomfortably when sitting in a wheelchair or Amigo. Shorter jackets will expose the person’s legs and cause uncomfortable environments as well.
IZ Adaptive addressed this by creating a line of coats that includes longer coats to cover the legs. Seated coats and parkas are designed and cut to follow the line of a seated person. Capes can be a great option as well: they are easier to get on and off, and the lack of armholes can help with the process of getting dressed.
DIY Fashion Tips for Amigo Users
As mentioned earlier, finding ways to achieve comfort, function, ease of dressing, and style in pants can be a game-changer. Here are five hacks from IZ Adaptive for creating your own adaptive pants.
- Remove the Back Pockets
Bulk seams and rivets on back pockets can cause pressure sores. Removing them can eliminate this risk and make your clothing more comfortable.
- Create an Opening for a Leg Bag
Creating an opening for the tube of your leg bag can eliminate the discomfort of keeping it strapped to your calf. A two-inch-long opening near the upper thigh will let you run your tubing through that opening and place your bag in a bag at the side of your chair.
- Add Zippers to Create New Access Points
Zippers can be placed in any seam near an area you need access to, and they will help you open up that area without having to undress.
- Add a Full-Length Zipper to the Side Seam
A full-length-zipper from the top of the waistband to the hem of your pants allows them to open up fully, which can make getting dressed easier and gives easier access to more areas.
- Replace Rear Side of the Pants Softer Fabric This is a more challenging DIY but will ensure that the back of your pants is free of all seams. Read how to do this here.