Irish sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane actually are reinventing the wheel. The duo are the brains behind Izzy Wheels, a company who design and sell stylish wheel covers for wheelchairs. Their bright and bold wheel covers add a sense of whimsy and fun to what is often a fairly utilitarian device.
Izzy is the inspiration behind the innovative company. Born with Spina Bifida, Izzy uses a wheelchair. As a child, she loved to personalise her wheelchair but lamented the lack of fun designs available to her.
It was this that inspired older sister Ailbhe. In 2016, while completing her final year at the National College of Art and Design, Ailbhe decided to design a range of wheel covers that would enable her sister to express her individuality.
‘My sister has a very positive relationship with her wheelchair and she wanted to express that. She sees it has a symbol of her ability, not her disability,’ Ailbhe said.
Most importantly, for Izzy, the wheel covers are transformative. ‘I’ve been a wheelchair user all of my life and people have often looked at me with a sense of pity,’ she said.
‘As soon as I put on my wheel covers there is such noticeable shift in how people engage with me. My colourful wheel covers are the first thing that people notice about me now and it’s such a brilliant and positive conversation starter.’
Since launching in 2016, Izzy Wheels have collaborated with a range of designers, including fashion designer Orla Kiely. ‘We now have 25 designs from all around the world,’ Ailbhe said. ‘We are building a whole world around us and now you can match your wheels with your outfit and change them like you change your shoes.’
For more information on Izzy Wheels click here