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The Design Issue 2001

Vice Fashion - Functional Fashion

Most things aren't designed for people in wheelchairs.

Most things aren’t designed for people in wheelchairs. When it comes to clothes, everything's just uncomfortable and unpractical; sweaters are too long, pants too short. A baggy t-shirt might look cool when you’re standing, but sitting down it just looks lumpy. Because most clothing manufacturers don't give a shit that you've had a spinal disease which means that you'll never ever be able to walk, there aren’t massive amounts of alternative fashion designed for sitting down. And the fashion that is specially designed is going to be comfortable, not look good. Mostly you have to rely on customizing and your own skills and ideas. Thank fuck then for Estelle who make clothes for the disabled. Photos: Kristian Bengtsson
Styling: Frida Bard
Casting Assistant: Tony Dahlgren

Annons

Petronella

: I have a jacket that is designed for people in wheelchairs, and it’s my favourite garment, because usually I can never wear jackets. I move around so much, all jackets end up looking like shit, the shoulder is by my ear and the arms are messed up. Most jackets are made to fit around the arm, and that doesn’t work, because I use my arms so much.

Sitting: Petronella wears body by Estelle. Standing: Yana wears t-shirt by Acne and shorts by Nakkna.

Jozephine:

I can never wear shirts, because my upper arms are too big. I used to compete in arm wrestling, I was on pan-Nordic level, but I had to quit because my arm started hurting. It’s a really explosive sport and I need to make my arms last. I wear a lot of stretch because it fits better. And I wear black. Partly because I like black, and partly because it doesn’t get dirty.

Sitting, from front to back: Petronella wears jeans and vest by Estelle. Lina wears t-shirt by Acne and trousers by Nakkna. Jacket and shoes, stylists own.

Jozephine:

There are advantages with being in a wheelchair too. Like me, I love attention, and I get noticed wherever I go no matter what I wear. It can get annoying too, if I’m hung over and just out to get a can of coke and everyone stares like there’s something wrong with me.

Standing, from left to right: Lina wears shirt by Comme Des Garçons and pullover and jeans by Acne. Jörgen wears polo neck by Comme Des Garçons. Emelia wears fake fur by Comme Des Garçons and trousers by Nakkna. Sitting: Jozephine wears dress by Estelle.

Annons

Petronella

: I was born with a small spinal cord injury. I had surgery when I was 13, the scar tissue grew into the spinal cord and I’ve been in a wheelchair since then. The worst thing about it? I don’t know…cobbled streets? I don’t really think about it anymore. With clothes the problem is that when you’re sitting, there is always too much cloth in the front and not enough in the back.

Yana wears cardigan and jeans by Acne.

Petronella:

My shoulders are big, but my waist is really thin. If something fits over my shoulders, it’s going to look too big. Smaller clothes will fit my waist, but I can’t move. And tops ride up my back, so a body is good.

Jörgen wears t-shirt by Tonite, necklace by David & Martin. Jeans, model’s own.

Jozephine:

What bugs me is I don’t want to buy shitty, cheap clothes, because I don’t like the way they look. But I can’t buy clothes for several 100 euros because they’re going to be worn out in a year. Right now I have this beautiful leatherjacket, and if I want it to last, I’ll have to have a tailor adjust it.

Petronella wears jeans by Estelle and shoes by Acne.

Jozephine

: I’ve been in a wheelchair for the past 19.5 years. When I was three and a half I was in car accident and hurt my spinal cord. I don’t really think about it anymore. Stairs can be tricky, but there are people in wheelchairs that can get up stairs. It’s just a matter of learning, there really aren’t that many things you can’t learn. With clothes it’s a problem getting jeans that have the right design. They always slide down and my ass is showing.

Annons

Jozephine wears t-shirt by Acne and jacket and trousers by Estelle. Robot by CoCo Form.

Petronella:

I adjust all the clothes I buy. If I by €100 jeans I’m going to want them to fit, so I don’t buy €100 jeans. I buy things that are inexpensive and a bit too big, and then I change them. I go with grey or black, because the clothes are going to hang over the wheels and get dirty. If I buy something white it has to really fit.

Sitting, from left to right: Jozephine wears corset and trousers by Estelle and belt by NK Accessoarer. Lina wears t-shirt, sweater and chinos by Acne.