Design (Dis)ability Results

Photo: People in wheel chairs

High need for design of fashion accessory equipment for physically disabled people who use a wheelchair initiated the challenge; © RogLab, Branko Čeak

An international creative challenge aiming at the design of fashion accessory equipment for physically disabled people who use a wheelchair to get around was launched by RogLab, in collaboration with YHD – Association for Theory and Culture of Handicap, in their call for "DESIGN (DIS)ABILITY".

Most accessories available to physically disabled people on the market today are but utilitarian – either not originally intended for the physically disabled or are designed as basic medical devices. Hence this call for design solutions is not about coming up with typical medical equipment or sports accessories but about devising contemporarily designed, visually attractive, modern and useful fashion accessory equipment that is functional and aesthetic at the same time. We have received seven proposals, from which two were chosen by an assessment committee.

First prize was won by the designer Petja Zorec for her raincoat with removable knee warmer, integrated in a bag that can be hung on the wheelchair handles with simple metal rings. On the lower part of the bag, there are two zippers that open from the middle outwards, which can be easily opened. The raincoat can be thus removed from the bag, with the help of a sewn-in strap made of reflective material, and pulled over the body. The raincoat has integrated aesthetic elastic strings to prevent it from getting entangled in the wheels. The material used is ultralight 100% water- and windproof nylon. There is a large pocket on the raincoat that reaches from the middle of the thighs down to the ankles in which a knee warmer can be stored. There is also an additional pocket in the lid flap of the larger pocket for keeping personal items.

Second Prize went to the gloves designed by Linda Ogrizek. The gloves sport an innovative design that joins the functionality of a glove with the aesthetic effect of jewellery. The gloves can be put on by pulling a short strap through a metal ring on the upper side of the hand and fixing it with integrated rivets that are located on the part next to the thumb. Longer straps can be wrapped around the wrist as desired, since the rivets are placed to form different lengths. Despite the protective reinforced parts of the gloves on the inner-hand area, the gloves are not overly brawny, thus maintaining the look of a fashion accessory. The designer chose a range of colours that give the gloves an attractive and fashionable look. They are made of slightly elastic leather.; Source: European Network on Independent Living (ENIL)

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