Alleles adds aesthetics to prosthetics
Coming from the Greek word “addition”, prosthetics from the Canadian design duo Alleles surely add a design touch to the field of prosthetics.
Sometimes, the most impactful ideas emerge from unexpected places. People are so used to seeing prosthetic design as purely practical, with decorative choices intended to closely match skin tone in order to seamlessly blend in.
However, one design studio — Alleles — has flipped the norm, treating prosthetics not simply as a practical medical device, but an opportunity for striking, fashion-forward expression.
The story of how Alleles came to be purveyors of high-fashion prosthetic leg covers is one of following curiosity to an interesting and impactful destination. What began as a fascinating college thesis project developed into a passion and drive to welcome the amputee community into a boutique experience quite unlike anything else on the market.
The result is a range of attention-grabbing covers, each a blend of surface decoration and intricate perforations, that doesn’t seek to camouflage the prosthetic, but reveal more about the person wearing it. It exemplifies fashion at its best — not simply a superficial accessory, but an expression of identity.
The amputee community has certainly seen its share of prosthesis decoration in recent years, usually colorful, often perforated, but largely uninspired. However, the Alleles design studio have discovered that their customers are reporting that their intricate covers are having a much more positive impact than expected.
Wearers are finding that they want to display their cover, to celebrate it as part of their style choices. They are also finding comfort in the different types of interactions they are having with the public — invasive questions about their disability have been replaced with conversations about their overall personal style. Members of the public are approaching amputees to have discussions about the person, rather than the prosthesis.
In a practical sense, Alleles covers operate in a manner that the community is already familiar with, attaching to the prosthetic using straps and hooks. They’re constructed of FDA grade ABS plastic, making them lightweight while being durable and easy to clean.
However, all Alleles covers are made to order, produced to the specifications of the individual wearer — these aren’t “off the rack” items. Much like any other boutique, there is room for personalization, too; customers have the option for the application of custom artwork.