Izzy Wheels: The Irish Sisters Reinventing The Wheel, Literally

Today, Izzy Wheels sells in 35 countries and the duo has collaborated with 70 famous artists and fashion designers on wheel cover designs.

Proof that are no obstacles that can't be overcome. 

Izzy Wheels – founded by sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane – started out as a college project in 2016.

Ailbhe noticed that Izzy – who was born with Spina Bifida and is paralysed from her waist down – was being recognised more by her wheelchair rather than her, something that wasn't a reflection of her personality. This encouraged her to design a range of personalised wheel covers that expressed users individuality and personality. “My little sister, Izzy, was born with spina bifida and has no feeling in her legs,” explains Ailbhe Keane. “Izzy has a really bubbly personality and a great style of dressing but the first thing people would notice about her was her wheelchair. She never felt it expressed her identity. I created Izzy Wheels, a range of stylish and colourful wheel covers for wheelchairs, as my final year project in The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in 2016. Our motto became, ‘If you can’t stand up, stand out!’ The project was a viral sensation and we began collaborating with designers from around the world."

Our motto became, 'if you can't stand up, stand out!'

Today, Izzy Wheels sells in 35 countries and the duo has collaborated with 70 famous artists and fashion designers on wheel cover designs. “We wanted to show the world that wheelchairs can be a piece of artistic self- expression,” says Ailbhe. “The best part of all is when our ‘Spokes People’ send photos to us of themselves wearing their Izzy Wheels and sharing their life stories with us,” adds Izzy. “Our most recent collaboration with Mattel and Barbie was very special to us,” says Ailbhe. “We created a range of Barbie-inspired wheel covers for wheelchairs but also a mini-collection to go with the new Barbie doll who has a wheelchair.”

We are building a fashion brand for one of the world's most underserved communities of people

Some of this year’s highlights for the Izzy Wheels duo have included being invited to the American Vogue offices in New York to discuss disability in fashion; both being named on Forbes 30 Under 30; being the first Irish people to be in Instagram's official story; having BBC Three make a documentary about them and having a waiting list of over a thousand designers who want to work with Izzy Wheels. “We have big plans to add other stylish accessories to our collection,” says Ailbhe. “Spoke guards are just the beginning for us. We want matching bags, umbrellas and other products to match users' wheels. We are building a fashion brand for one of the world's most underserved communities of people.”

This article was originally published in the November issue of Irish Tatler.

READ: The Irish Model On A Mission To Show That Different Is Beautiful

READ MORE: This Irish 12-Year-Old Is Doing More For The Planet Than You

You May Also Like