After losing her leg to cancer in 2012, Julia Chisolm was happy to find a unique Vancouver Island company that is helping her feel attractive and in control of her fashion choices once again.
Chisolm is a client of Alleles Design Studio, which is based in Victoria, B.C., and makes custom covers for prosthetic limbs. The brainchild of industrial designer McCauley Wanner and architect Ryan Palibroda, the covers are based on the client’s personal style — from the choice of colours, to the design and fit.
“When you become an amputee, it is really hard to feel beautiful sometimes. Allele has kind of brought that back and I think that’s super important, said Chisolm, speaking alongside Palibroda Tuesday during an interview on CBC’s The Early Edition.
Palibroda said the idea was inspired by a thesis paper his partner Wanner wrote in university after she was shocked by the lack of choices a friend of hers who was an amputee had when it came to prosthetics and their covers.
WATCH | Alleles, a CBC Creator Network film about a unique B.C. company:
In 2014, the duo started the process of protecting their industrial design in Canada, and now, Palibroda and Wanner are filling orders for everything from floral patterns to houndstooth custom covers.
“We really take a fashion approach,” said Palibroda.
Their designs have been featured in Teen Vogue, in an exhibition in the Musée de l’Homme in Paris and, perhaps most importantly, on people like Chisolm who want to showcase their personal style.
“The designs are beautiful and unique,” said Chisolm, adding the covers fit perfectly over her prosthetic and under her pants.
All covers are made out of FDA-grade ABS plastic which, according to the company’s website, is lightweight, durable and easy to clean.
LISTEN | Designer Ryan Palibroda and client Julia Chisolm talk about Allele products:
The Early Edition8:36Making prosthetics fashionable