In our recent Halloween blog, we shared ideas for incorporating kids’ wheelchairs into their Halloween costumes. But what if wheelchairs could be outlets for creativity and self-expression all 365 days a year? As it happens, many companies now produce unique and beautiful accessories that allow wheelchair users to personalize their rides. We scoured the internet to find examples of some of the most stylish and innovative wheelchair designs and paraphernalia out there. Here’s what we came up with:
“If you can’t stand up, stand out.” That’s the tagline for Isabel and Ailbhe Keane’s new company, Izzy Wheels. As an art student at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland, Ailbhe Keane wanted to create stylish, colorful and unique removable wheel covers that would help her sister Isabel, who has used a wheelchair all her life, to make her wheelchair a fashion statement. The sisters say the company’s mission is “to challenge negative associations with wheelchairs and let users celebrate their individuality by personalizing their source of independence.” Ailbhe and Isabel “want to show the world that wheelchairs can be so much more than a medical device, they can be a piece of artistic expression.” Izzy Wheels covers are designed by fine artists and graphic designers. Some wheelchair users have more than one set of wheel covers, so they can coordinate their covers with their outfits. Check out the online store. You won’t believe the array of options. For more information, visit izzywheels.com.
Pimp My Chair
Named for the popular TV series, “Pimp My Ride,” this company, started by the mother of a son who uses a wheelchair, sells a variety of wheelchair accessories that help users to be safer, more comfortable and more stylish. Products include personalized seat covers, padded gloves, wheels with multicolored LED lights, and spoke lights that attach to wheelchair spokes.
HDS Medallion wheelchair bags
This company designs gorgeous bags especially designed to attach to wheelchairs, walkers, powerchairs and scooters. HDS also sells two styles of basic black bags —one with a zipper closure and one with Velcro closure. Users can choose from a large number of carrying straps that accommodate their individual styles and preferences. Buy more than one to match your strap with your mood or outfit.
Side by Side Wheelchair Handle Extension
For her senior project, Israeli designer Tammy Kalinsky developed the Side by Side, a wheelchair accessory that enables side by side conversation between a wheelchair user and the person who pushes the wheelchair. It’s difficult to carry on a conversation when walking behind a companion who’s sitting in a wheelchair. The Side by side, a simple bar that connects to the side of the wheelchair makes it possible for the wheelchair pusher to walk beside the wheelchair user. According to Kalinsky’s website, the Side by Side is currently pending patent.
UK-based company PYC sells sleek, stylish wheelchair bags, straps, backrests and guards made of Cordura, an extremely durable material that’s colorfast, water-resistant and reasonably priced.