Friday, January 23, 2015

Expressive Prosthetics - Bringing Fashion to Function

Hey everyone! We've written a few blogs about really advanced prosthetic limbs, either in their technology or in their affordability. (Read about some of them here, here, or here.) These new advances have come a long way from the clunky prosthetics of the past that were designed more to look like natural limbs than to function like them. But there is something to be said about the appeal of the human silhouette.

Canadian company Alleles Design Studio has found a way to bring prosthetics physiologically closer to the human body without compromising their functionality. Instead of engineering a new type of prosthetic limb, Alleles founders, Ryan Palibroda and McCauley Wanner, made it their mission to provide creative, accessible covers for lower-limb prosthetics.

Wanner and Palibroda with their designs.

Taking inspiration from the evolution of eyeglasses—generic and functional to fashionable modes of self-expression—Wanner and Palibroda think of their covers as “'part of a whole', whether it is part of the body or part of an entire look.”

The covers not only emulate the shape of the human leg, they also have unique, colorful, tough, athletic, whatever-you-can-think-up designs. Alleles has a number of ready-to-wear options that come in a variety of colors, but they also give customers the option to create a customized design. Terry Oh, tattoo artist and Alleles collaborator, works with customers via email to create personalized covers. It's all about “empowering amputees through self-expression.”

New products are released in conjunction with the spring/summer and autumn/winter fashion calendar, so clients can choose covers in the same way they would choose outfits. Have a spring dress that could use some lace tights? No problem.

“We wanted to create a different experience for our clients by removing this product from the medical realm to act more as a personal statement and fashion accessory. Amputees will now have cosmetic options beyond flesh-toned foam and silicon.”

The ready-to-wear covers run around $325 - $475, depending on the design, and customs hang out in the $800s. What do you think?

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