Mattel’s iconic fashion doll brand, Barbie is aiming to break new ground for the topic of inclusivity in the toy box, with a new collection wheelchair designs that champion diversity and self-expression through fashion.
The toy maker has partnered with Izzy Wheels to introduce four limited-edition designs, each inspired by the heritage of the brand that itself celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
The four Izzy Wheels designs can be sized to fit to any manual wheel chair, as well as miniature versions in Barbie scale designed to fit the Barbie with Wheelchair doll.
The Barbie x Izzy Wheels collaboration presents four limited-edition wheelchair wheel cover designs, created by UK based artists and designers including London-based inclusive fashion label ART SCHOOL, and graphic artists Malika Favre, Hattie Stewart and Annu Kilpeläinen. The four were invited to reimagine Barbie in her 60th year, and their designed wheel covers will be sold on IzzyWheels.com from Wednesday, August 28.
Izzy Wheels is a Dublin-based brand founded by two Irish sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane. A college project, the idea was inspired by Izzy who was born with Spina Bifida. The wheel covers were designed by Ailbhe to reflect her sister’s personality. The idea was to turn the wheelchair into a piece of fashion and self-expression.
Izzy Keane said: “Izzy Wheels empower wheelchair users to make a statement about themselves, it makes a person’s wheelchair into a friendly object rather than something purely functional. Having stylish wheels on your chair that match your outfit or show off your interests immediately addresses the chair and opens conversation.
“Having a Barbie in a wheelchair meant so much to be as a little girl, and I love that a whole new generation of kids with disabilities can play with a Barbie that represents them.”
Izzy Wheels has since been featured in global publications including Vogue, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Good Morning America. Izzy and Ailbhe have been the recipients of numerous awards including Accenture Leaders of Tomorrow Award, and were named one of Forbes 30 under 30.
“Our mission with Izzy Wheels is to challenge negative associations with wheelchairs and let users celebrate their individuality by personalising their source of independence,” said Ailbhe Keane. “We want to show the world that wheelchairs can be so much more than a medical device, they can be a piece of artistic self-expression.
“Fashion and fun are at the heart of what we do, and we’re thrilled to work with talented designers to pay homage to Barbie in her 60th year and celebrate dolls with even more diversity.”
Today, with over 200 careers and counting, Barbie hopes to inspire the limitless potential in every girl, and as the number one fashion doll in the world, she aims to represent a broader view of society for the next generation of girls.
In 2019 Barbie continues to offer evolved diversity through body types, hair colours, hair textures, ethnicities, introducing over 100 different looks in Fashionistas since 2015 alone.
The AW19 line of Barbie dolls include a Barbie with a wheelchair and a ramp, and a Barbie with a prosthetic limb. These are the first Barbie dolls with disabilities since the 1997 Share a Smile Becky doll – which has been a mascot in the Izzy Wheels office since the brand began.