Barbie is extending its mission of representation to the real world, teaming with Izzy Wheels on a range of wheelchair covers for manual wheelchair users.
The line includes four designs that can be sized to fit any manual wheelchair, and miniature versions in Barbie scale that are designed to fit the Barbie with Wheelchair doll from the Fashionista range.
The Barbie x Izzy Wheels collaboration presents four limited-edition wheelchair wheel cover designs, created by some of Barbie’s favourite UK based artists and designers; including London-based inclusive fashion label Art School, and graphic artists Malika Favre, Hattie Stewart and Annu Kilpeläinen, who were invited to reimagine Barbie in her 60th year. The wheel covers will be sold on IzzyWheels.com from today.
"Izzy Wheels empower wheelchair users to make a statement about themselves, it makes a person's wheelchair into a friendly object rather than something purely functional,” says Izzy Keane, co-founder of Izzy Wheels. “Having stylish wheels on your chair that match your outfit or show off your interests immediately addresses the chair and opens conversation.
“Having a Barbie in a wheelchair meant so much to be as a little girl, and I love that a whole new generation of kids with disabilities can play with a Barbie that represents them.”
To create the wheel covers, Barbie has collaborated with Izzy Wheels, a Dublin-based brand founded by two Irish sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane. Initially a college project, the idea was inspired by Izzy who was born with Spina Bifida and is paralysed from her waist down. Ailbhe saw that her sister’s chair was the first thing people noticed about her, but it wasn’t a reflection of her bright and bubbly personality. Ailbhe began designing a range of stylish wheel covers that expressed wheelchair users individuality and personality, transforming a medical device into a piece of fashion and self-expression.
Ailbhe Keane adds: "Our mission with Izzy Wheels is to challenge negative associations with wheelchairs and let users celebrate their individuality by personalizing their source of independence. We want to show the world that wheelchairs can be so much more than a medical device, they can be a piece of artistic self-expression.
“Fashion and fun are at the heart of what we do, and we’re thrilled to work with talented designers to pay homage to Barbie in her 60th year and celebrate dolls with even more diversity."