The wheelchair fashion brand, Izzy Wheels, has partnered with Sanrio to launch a new, limited-edition Hello Kitty collection of wheelchair wheel covers for both adults and children.
The collaboration with the iconic character – a staple of not only Japanese popular culture, but global culture today – marks an all-important part in the Izzy Wheels brand mission to ‘make the fashion and design world more inclusive.’
The collection launches with six unique and stylish wheel covers available in a range of sizes for all manual wheelchairs. They are available to purchase now from izzywheels.com.
Hello Kitty x Izzy Wheels will debut in two capsule collections: The Sweetheart Collection and The Retro Food Collection. The brand collaboration has been developed to highlight the concept that wheelchairs can be more than a medical device, they can be a piece of artistic self-expression.
The Sweetheart collection showcases the classic Hello Kitty theme with her cute red bow. The Retro Food Collection has reimagined everyday treats into a world of Hello Kitty rainbow themed foods in a comic book style. All of the prints were created with care and love by Ailbhe, the brand’s creative director, using the Hello Kitty style archives.
Izzy Wheels is Dublin-based brand founded by two Irish sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane. Initially a college project, the idea was inspired by Izzy who was born with Spina Bifida and is paralysed from her waist down. Ailbhe saw that her sister’s chair was the first thing people noticed about her, but it wasn’t a reflection of her bright and bubbly personality.
Ailbhe began designing a range of stylish wheel covers that expressed wheelchair users individuality and personality, transforming a medical device into a piece of fashion and self-expression. Their tagline is ‘If you can’t stand up, stand out!’
Izzy Wheels has been featured in some of the world’s top publications including Vogue, Good Morning America, Forbes, Oprah Magazine, CBS News, and TechCrunch. Izzy and Ailbhe were the first Irish people to be asked to take over Instagram’s official account, have had over 20 million views on their videos online, have been the recipients of numerous awards including Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award, were named one of Forbes 30 under 30, and were finalists in this year’s EU Women Innovators Award 2020.
Ailbhe Keane, said: “As a girl I was completely and utterly OBSESSED with Hello Kitty. I was that little kid with a Hello Kitty schoolbag, lunchbox, pencil case, pencils, clothes, teddies etc. If anyone was going abroad I would literally beg them to bring me back some Hello Kitty merch because it was so hard to get in Ireland.
“I used to spend my days at school drawing Hello Kitty all over my notebooks instead of working. I always found her bold black lines, bright playful colours and distinctive shapes so satisfying to draw. My love of Hello Kitty graphics and branding is what inspired me to become a graphic designer. I never could have dreamed that I’d have the opportunity to work with my favourite brand of all time. Fashion and playfulness have always been at the heart of we do and we’re thrilled to work with such a fun brand that played such a massive role in my childhood.”
Izzy Keane, added: “It is so incredibly exciting that we are collaborating with a brand as famous as Hello Kitty. Growing up I got to see first-hand Ailbhe’s total obsession with the adorable character and anything associated with the brand.
“From a personal perspective, as a wheelchair user, it’s so wonderful that Izzy Wheels is collaborating with such a globally loved brand like Hello Kitty because when kids see a character which they are so familiar with associated with a medical device like a wheelchair it automatically makes the chair less scary and more cool to them.
“For older fans of Hello Kitty who use wheelchairs this collaboration will be very special for them too because they will be able to re-emphasise the playful and super stylish side of wheelchairs.”