Izzy Wheels, a company founded by sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane, from Galway, has collaborated with Disney to create a range of bright and colourful spokeguards for wheelchair users.
The collection includes characters from Disney favourites such as Frozen, The Lion King and Toy Story, as well as the classic Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Marvel superheroes the Avengers also feature.
The company was inspired by Izzy, who was born with spina bifida and is paralysed from the waist down. She says that although her wheelchair is a symbol of freedom to her, it never reflected her personality. Motivated by this, Ailbhe designed a range of wheel covers for her sister as part of her final-year project at the National College of Art and Design, in 2016.
“It’s been my long-time aim to challenge the perception of people who use wheelchairs and encourage people to look beyond the chair,” says Ailbhe, who is the company’s chief executive and creative director. “I want people to feel that their wheelchair is an extension of their personal style and a form of self-expression, which is why Disney is a fantastic partner.”
The covers, which now ship worldwide, aim to bridge the gap between disability and style, with extensive collections of eye-catching and bold designs. The new collaboration means the sister duo can use Disney's catalogue of character artwork, from Disney, Pixar and Marvel. The spokeguards are designed for all ages, and include fan favourites such as Olaf, Spider-Man and Ariel.
Ten per cent of proceeds from the Disney range will be donated to Whizz-Kidz, a charity focused on transforming the lives of disabled children in the UK. Izzy Wheels has also pledged to help Disney's Make-a-Wish project by designing customisable wheelchair covers.