A serious car accident can change every aspect of your life – your job, your lifestyle, and even your fashion. After one woman was paralyzed in a car accident, she refused to let her wheelchair get in the way of her style. She set out to design, produce, and soon sell wheelchair jeans designed specifically for the disabled.
In 2007, an accident left Heidi McKenzie paralyzed from the chest down. Suddenly confined to a wheelchair, she refused to let her new life circumstances get her down. She finished college, began volunteering, and even won Ms. Wheelchair America, a beauty pageant.
During the competition she began to speak with the other contestants and recognized a mutual frustration: finding fashionable clothing that works well in the wheelchair. She told the Huffington Post:
“Being cute and comfortable is what sells jeans to able bodied people and they have so many options to pick from. . . . Being adaptive and functional is what sells to those in wheelchairs so that is the main focus … cute is not a priority. I want to give people in wheelchairs options so we can look good and feel good too.”
It is important that the style be functional as well. Disabled people who use wheelchairs have particular needs that don’t always mesh well with fashion designers’ vision. That’s why McKenzie’s wheelchair jeans feature pockets on top of their thighs and a tummy control panel. They also conceal a catheter opening and have a high rise in the back, allowing wearers to be discrete.
3.3 million Americans use wheelchairs to get around. Paralysis is a serious disability that can limit the way people work, live, and dress. After an accident, disabled individuals face all kinds of injury-related expenses, from home modifications to wardrobe changes. Depending on their injuries, these expenses can sometimes be covered by their Michigan no-fault auto insurance. However, auto insurance companies will often put up a fight, denying these accident-related expenses unless they are ordered by the court.
Entrepreneurs like Heidi McKenzie are doing what they can to help car accident victims live more robust lives that more closely resemble the way they lived before the accident. McKenzie’s wheelchair jeans have been successfully crowd-funded and will be available for pre-order starting September 25. She wrote on her blog:
I wholeheartedly believe I am exactly where I need to be designing clothing for people like me in wheelchairs.
David Christensen is an auto accident attorney in Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team represent seriously injured accident victims to make sure all their expenses are covered. If you or someone you know have been denied by an insurance company, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.