Clothes are often credited as a source of telling the world about who we are, our personalities, what we like or dislike. For some, like those in wheelchairs (just like those with Down Syndrome), it can be a form of expression that they cannot access with similar ease. The challenges of dressing while being in a permanently seated position might not appear large in number, but there’s a whole scope of factors to consider. This is where most clothing designs fall short. For Toronto designer Izzy Camilleri, it was also the realization that a new way to interpret clothes could be established with her IZ Adaptive Clothing line.
Over the past seven years, Camilleri has approached the unseen issues facing wheelchair users with their fashion options. “There are so many elements; it’s not just about bunching,” she says. “It’s about health issues as well.” Aesthetic touches such as back pockets on jeans can cause pressure sores; pants can dig into the front of the body while sitting and, because of how they’re cut, they can cut off breathing for some conditions. Even the thickness of a fabric can cause unanticipated complications.